Clermont County Warns Travelers Away from Goshen Tornado Area as Duke Energy Tries to Restore Electricity to Cincinnati

The July 6 tornado measured 750 yards wide and had winds of 130 MPH at its peak.

click to enlarge Pam Haverkos, emergency management director for Clermont County, addresses Clermont County commissioners on July 7, 2022. - Photo:
Pam Haverkos, emergency management director for Clermont County, addresses Clermont County commissioners on July 7, 2022.

Greater Cincinnati continues to deal with the aftermath of the July 6 storms, including the tornado that hit Goshen Township in Clermont County.

More than 9,000 Duke Energy customers still are without electricity after the severe storms, with most of those concentrated in the Goshen area. A tornado touched down in Goshen – 30 miles east of Cincinnati – during the afternoon on July 6. After issuing a warning to Brown County when a tornado was sighted near Mount Orab, the National Weather Service in Wilmington sounded the alarm for Goshen, urging residents to immediately seek shelter.

The NWS has classified the Goshen tornado as an EF2, with winds of 111-135 MPH. Goshen Township Administrator Steve Pegram declared a state of emergency Wednesday, when about 200 buildings had been classified as damaged or demolished so far, including the fire and police departments. The tornado ripped roofs from a number of structures, and lightning and falling trees caused even more damage to buildings and roads, Pegram said. He added that three people were injured.

The NWS says that the tornado began in Pleasant Plain in Clermont County and gathered strength as it moved southwest to Goshen, where it measured 750 yards wide and had winds of 130 MPH at its peak. The tornado then continued southeast to Newtonsville, where it eventually petered out. The destructive event ran from 3:06 p.m.-3:14 p.m. and ran for about 4.5 miles, the NWS says.

The July 6 tornado, thunderstorms and high temperatures were part of a series of storms that have been hitting Cincinnati this week and over the last two months.

Restoring electricity to Goshen and Greater Cincinnati

Many residents throughout the tri-state lost power Wednesday and Thursday. The 9,000 remaining Duke customers without electricity is down from 31,000 Thursday night, 45,000 Thursday morning and a peak of more than 100,000 on Wednesday. Pegram said Wednesday that it could be days before Goshen-area residents have power again, and Duke confirms that on its outages page.

"Our crews continue to make repairs from Wednesday's severe storms," Duke says. "The estimated times for restoration currently displaying on our maps are the latest times we expect to have service back on in all areas except for the Goshen community, where tornadic-like damage occurred. The severity of damage in that area will require additional work before power can be fully restored. More specific times will be provided as our restoration efforts progress."

According to its outages page, Duke predicts power restoration in Goshen by 9 p.m. July 10. Crews from outside Cincinnati are aiding the effort, Duke says in a press release.

Duke says that extensive infrastructure damage, uprooted trees, large fallen branches, broken power lines and fallen power poles have contributed to the slow electricity restoration. Clermont County officials says that traffic congestion in the hardest-hit areas also is affecting progress.

"Emergency Management asks that you please stay away from the area unless you have a need to be there. Traffic congestion is impeding Duke's progress," Clermont County says in a Twitter post. To report power outages to Duke Energy, text OUT to 57801 or call 800-543-5599. Learn about what else to do before and during power outages.

How to get help or volunteer

The National Weather Service and Clermont County officials will continue investigating the Goshen incident as well as damage in Mount Orab. Agencies from the surrounding municipalities are providing assistance. The Red Cross is providing shelter, food and water to displaced residents at Goshen High School, 6707 Goshen Rd., and others can drop off non-perishable food and bottled water. Clermont County residents also can call 513-735-8500 for help.

Meanwhile, Clermont County's emergency management team and Goshen Township are coordinating volunteer clean-up sessions for July 9 and 10 and in the coming weeks. Volunteers should bring safety equipment if they have it (some will be provided if not) and will be "sent to work as crews," a tweet from Clermont County says. Volunteers must register for the clean-up effort by calling 513-735-8500.

Weather predictions for the weekend

Friday morning, the National Weather Service in Wilmington had initially predicted several rounds of severe storms with heavy rainfall and high winds for July 8 in Greater Cincinnati. "Torrential rainfall rates are expected," the NWS said around 9 a.m.

However, the agency has since said that storms in the evening and afternoon "will not be as severe as originally anticipated." The NWS added that strong or severe storms and even another tornado remain possibilities, but heavy rain is "the main threat." The NWS says that the rest of the weekend and July 11 will be relatively dry, but storms could return on July 12.

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