2019 Memorial Day Tornado Outbreak

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.

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

People across the Miami Valley are continuing to clean up from the Memorial Day tornadoes. Among the strongest of the outbreak’s 15 twisters was an EF4 tornado that carved a path of destruction just north of downtown Dayton.

It hit Montgomery County’s Harrison Township especially hard, leaving almost 2,000 properties damaged. Now, six months after the storm, signs of recovery are visible in the small community. But for many Northridge residents, full recovery remains a far-off dream.

Sounds of construction fill the air in Northridge.

2019 Memorial Day Storm Path
Montgomery County Auditor's Office

New numbers Monday from the Montgomery County Auditor’s office detail the financial devastation from the tornadoes that ripped through the Miami Valley last Memorial Day.

Montgomery County has seen lost property values of more than $46 million.

Following the May tornadoes, affected homes and businesses were eligible to have their property values lowered through a longstanding auditor’s office program.

But Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith told reporters nearly a dozen communities county-wide are facing major storm-related revenue losses.

2019 Memorial Day Tornado
Jerry Kenney / WYSO

Almost six months after the Memorial Day tornado outbreak, advocates say hundreds of people affected by the storm are still in need of aid.

Demand for assistance is expected to continue over the next few years, according to data from the Miami Valley Long Term Recovery Operations Group, a coalition of more than 20 nonprofits and religious groups that came together in the weeks following the disaster.

A truckload of shoes arrives at Corinthian Baptist Church, ready for donation to people affected by the recent tornadoes.
George Drake, Jr. / WYSO

Nearly six months after the Memorial Day tornadoes, hundreds of people who sought federal disaster assistance continue to wait for final word on their applications. 

According to the latest Federal Emergency Management Agency data, 336 people across the 11-county disaster zone who applied for assistance are still working their way through the appeals process.

FEMA has already paid out more than $4.6 million in Individual Assistance grants. 

Mattresses line up at a loading dock. Volunteers continue furniture deliveries to families displaced by the Memorial Day Tornadoes.
Jess Mador / WYSO

Nearly six months after the Memorial Day tornadoes, many residents in the hardest-hit communities continue to recover. More than 4,000 Montgomery County properties suffered damage in the storm and many survivors remain in temporary housing.

Of the hundreds of tornado-affected people who signed up for emergency replacement furniture from the nonprofit St. Vincent de Paul, more than 150 are still waiting for furniture assistance.

And, says Steve Bowen, that number is an undercount.

billboard, oregon district, tornadoes, mental health, addiction montgomery County

Health officials in Montgomery County say some residents are only beginning to experience the effects of trauma from this year's Memorial Day tornadoes and the Oregon District shooting. Now, a new website aims to help people in need of assistance. And the county is getting the word out about the program through a billboard campaign. 

FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration are urging people affected by the tornadoes to apply for financial help.
Jess Mador / WYSO

The Miami Valley's last-remaining federal disaster assistance center opened in the aftermath of the Memorial Day tornadoes closed this week.

The Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Dayton Children’s Hospital Health Pavilion shut down Wednesday. SBA officials say the agency approved more than $27 million in low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and business owners across the statewide Memorial Day disaster zone.

James Sercu gets a tattoo while behind him artist Will Eagle draws his 16th tattoo of the day at Drawing Dayton Together.
Jason Reynolds / WYSO

Dayton themed tattoos have become popular across the city since the mass shooting in the Oregon District last month. People are getting Gem City designs, Dayton Strong ink, the shape of the state with a star where the city lies.