2019 Memorial Day Tornado Outbreak

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley giving her 2020 State of the City address. She complimented residents for their response to a string of tragic events in the past year.
Jerry Kenney / WYSO

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley delivered her State of the City Address Wednesday morning. Over the course of a half hour, Whaley made numerous references to the tribulations of 2019 — the KKK rally, Memorial Day Tornadoes, and the mass shooting that left nine dead. Yet, much of the mayor’s focus was on what Daytonians have accomplished together.

Last year in her State of the City address Mayor Whaley said Dayton had some tough issues to address — disparities in opportunity among neighborhoods, and the need for more investment in the city’s west side.

The Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Operations Group says 724 individuals, families and businesses are receiving case management services.
Jerry Kenney / WYSO

A coalition of organizations formed after the Memorial Day tornado outbreak gathered on Thursday to provide updates on disaster recovery progress.

The Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Operations Group says 724 individuals, families and businesses are receiving case management services. Most of those cases are in Montgomery County, according to Laura Mercer, the group’s executive director.   

“About half of those are homeowners. And about 68 percent of those homeowners have indicated that they're going to need some assistance with repair and rebuilding,” Mercer said.

Jerry Kenney

Montgomery County officials Tuesday unveiled their strategic priorities for the next five years. Key among them is a plan to make the county’s infrastructure more sustainable.

County Commissioner Judy Dodge says even before last year’s water main break and days-long water outage, the county struggled to maintain its aging infrastructure.

Dodge says it’s critical that county residents are able to depend on utilities such as drinking water every day.

Kayla Tucker
Basim Blunt / WYSO

I'm Kayla Tucker. I'm a senior at David H. Ponitz Career Technology Center. I'm 17 years old. I'm also a first year varsity cheerleader for basketball and football. When I was 10 years old, I experienced the aftermath of a hurricane that flooded the river by our house so much that the cold water covered my feet as I stood on the sidewalk. I didn't realize how much power and strength the weather had.

I was reminded of that power once again last Memorial Day weekend when several tornadoes touched down in Dayton on May 27, 2019

Matt Tepper, president of the Old North Dayton Neighborhood Association, says more than 500 homes were destroyed or severely damaged by the tornado.
Jason Reynolds / WYSO

Seven months since the Memorial Day tornadoes left a path of devastation across the Miami Valley, some residents in Old North Dayton are struggling to return to normal and many homes that suffered damage in the storm remain covered with tarps or sit in disrepair.

After the Memorial Day tornado outbreak, many Old North Dayton residents donated to their neighborhood association instead of giving to regional or national groups such as the Red Cross or the Dayton Foundation.

Gateway Cathedral and Hope churches raised $27,000 to make to provide dinner, $600 giftcards, and toys for families and children attending the Christmas with a Cause: Neighbor to Neighbor banquet.
Jerry Kenney / WYSO

It’s been almost seven months since an outbreak of tornadoes caused tens of millions of dollars in damage, displacing hundreds of people across the Miami Valley. 

Since then, an army of government agencies, volunteers and advocates have been working to help restore hard-hit communities and assist survivors.

One December event organized by two partnering churches was designed to provide a boost to storm-affected families ahead of the holidays.

Karl Keith speaking at the 2019 annual Auditor's Update at Sinclair College.

In his annual report delivered to more than 70 local government officials on Friday, Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith called 2019 a “mixed bag” of financial news. Keith struck an optimistic tone despite the negative impact of the May tornadoes on some county property values.

The auditor told the gathering this year’s tax revenue losses of $1.7 million in tornado affected neighborhoods were offset somewhat by improved property values and increased real estate development overall.

Grocery Lane was the place for healthy, affordable food in Old North Dayton before the tornado. Six months after the storm, it remains boarded up.
Jason Reynolds / WYSO

The Old North Dayton Neighborhood Association is organizing a new effort to transport residents to nearby grocery stores after a tornado ripped apart the area's only full-service grocery. The neighborhood was among the hardest-hit in the Miami Valley Memorial Day tornado outbreak.

Stacy Meyers works at Evans Bakery in Old North Dayton. The mother of five also lives in the neighborhood and says she’s been spending $50 to $100 more on food for her family each week since the tornado destroyed the Grocery Lane store.

After the tornado, Timothy Walker, Beth Wentz and their kids relocated to Clark County.
Jess Mador / WYSO

Editor's note, Dec. 10, 2019: This story has been updated to reflect factual corrections provided Tuesday by Montgomery County. The original version included inaccurate information from county officials about the grant program and its deadlines.   

Funding is still available for home repair and reconstruction across the Miami Valley tornado zone. Dozens of homeowners and renters could be eligible for the funding, Montgomery County officials say.  

Dayton, Ohio, is a city that is used to getting knocked flat on its back.