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Tornadoes Devastate Dayton Area, Search and Rescue Operations Underway

Debris scattered on I-75 after tornadoes touched down Monday night.
Debris scattered on I-75 after tornadoes touched down Monday night.

Tornadoes ripped through the Miami Valley late Monday night, leaving dozens injured and many without homes. Emergency responders have been performing search and rescue operations Tuesday morning.

The National Weather Service confirmed at least two tornadoes touched down in Dayton and its surrounding suburbs. The storms tore houses in half, leveled some buildings and left many people trapped by debris. Downed power lines and gas leaks have resulted in multiple fires. Total casualty numbers have not yet been released.

Dayton Resident Bryan Peak says the roof of his apartment complex collapsed.

“It was just kind of chaos for a minute because everybody was kind of screaming around the complex, running around, seeing if everybody was okay and going from apartment to apartment, so it was pretty intense." Peak says.

Damage has been reported in multiple counties. The city of Celina, northwest of Dayton, was particularly hit hard. Police say downed power lines and debris have made driving into the city unsafe.

Dayton residents are being asked to conserve water after the city lost power to both water plants and pump stations. More than 5 million people throughout the state of Ohio are without power due to the storms.

The Red Cross has opened several shelters across the region.

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April Laissle is a graduate of Ohio University and comes to WYSO from WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio where she worked as a weekend host and reporter. There, she reported on everything from food insecurity to 4-H chicken competitions. April interned at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, where she focused on health reporting. She also worked on The Broad Experience, a New-York based podcast about women and workplace issues. In her spare time, April loves traveling, trying new recipes and binge-listening to podcasts. April is a Florida native and has been adjusting to Ohio weather since 2011.