Remembering the Xenia Tornado: 40 years Later

Bad Weather Pushes Back Ohio Tornado Drill

Mar 2, 2015
Public Domain

Ohio emergency management officials say a statewide tornado drill has been pushed back two days because more wintry weather is on the way.
Tornado sirens around the state were to blast Wednesday morning. But because another winter storm is on the way, the test has been delayed until 9:50 a.m. Friday. The test will last three minutes.

Remembering the Xenia Tornado: Jack Newhouse

Apr 5, 2014
Alan Staiger

Jack Newhouse was a teacher at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home at the time of the 1974 Xenia tornado. He was on the campus of the Home when the tornado struck Xenia. Although the tornado did not hit the school or the campus, Mr. Newhouse could see it coming and took precautions to avoid damage to the facility or injury to the students and faculty.

Remembering the Xenia Tornado: Neva Brown

Apr 4, 2014
Sharon Benedict


Yesterday in our series “Remembering the Xenia Tornado,” we heard from Louise Crawley about how she and her husband got messages to the residents of Xenia with their ham radio sets.  Today, Neva Brown on setting a table in the midst of destruction.

Neva Brown told her story to Sharon Benedict of Greene County Library.  Alan Staiger produced our series.  For more on the Greene County Public Library's Voices of Greene County series, click here.

Remembering the Xenia Tornado: Louise Crawley

Apr 3, 2014
Sharon Benedict

This week, we’re remembering the Xenia tornado of 1974, the furious sound and the silence that came afterwards. Many looked up afterwards to no roof, only sky, and then they began to climb out from under debris to see what had happened. Hundreds of homes were in piles and phone lines had been destroyed. Louise Crawley knew what to do. Her husband was a firefighter with the Fairborn Fire Department, and they both were ham radio operators. Here is some of her oral history interview with the Greene County Public Library.

Remembering the Xenia Tornado: Donna Otneal

Apr 2, 2014
Alan Staiger

When people tell the story of the April 3, 1974 tornado, it begins with small details of the afternoon- letting the dog out, going for pizza, watching TV after school. The Andy Griffith show was interrupted by the WHIO TV weatherman with a warning to take cover.  Donna Otneal shared her memories of that day with our series producer.

Remembering the Xenia Tornado: Janine and Brian Montgomery (Part 2)

Apr 1, 2014
Tamar Kreke

Yesterday, we heard from Janine and Brian Montgomery of Xenia. They were in the downtown Pizza Hut when the F5 tornado hurtled through on April 3rd, 1974. When it was over, there was no roof on the Pizza Hut and Brian says he started to look for his wife Janine in the jumble.


Remembering the Xenia Tornado: Janine and Brian Montgomery (Part 1)

Mar 31, 2014
Tamar Kreke

On April 3, 1974 people in Xenia saw black smoke rising, like a wall.  Then the wall started turning, in slow motion and they knew what was coming.  It was an F-5 tornado. There were twisters all through Ohio and in other states- 148 were confirmed that day throughout the United States and Canada.

The tornado that struck Xenia killed 32 people and injured over 1000. Two National Guardsmen also died fighting a fire. Hundreds of homes were shredded into bits and downtown was demolished.