Cincinnati, OH F3 Tornado – August 9, 1969

SPC Stats:

Path length: 22.2 miles

Width:  400 yards

Fatalities:  4

Injuries:  247

Rating:  F3

Counties:  Hamilton, Clermont

A significant tornado struck parts of the Cincinnati metro area during the evening time of August 9, 1969.  It was one of 10 tornadoes confirmed this day and 1 of 2 F3s.  The other F3 hit portions of Marion County, IN resulting in 150+ injuries.

This tornado developed 8 miles NNE of downtown Cincinnati.  Numerous communities were hit in Hamilton and Clermont Counties.  Per the Storm Data Narrative, "the greatest damage and most injuries were from Hartwell to Reading."  Within the tornado's path, close to 2500 homes had some sort of damage.  27 of those homes were demolished. 247 injuries were recorded and 4 fatalities.  Mrs. Zelphia Taylor was killed after her car was flipped several times.  Mrs. Carolyn De Borde and two of her four sons were killed in their collapsed apartment building.  

Storm Data Entry

Moving east-southeastward at 50 mph, this tornado first touched ground 8 miles north-northeast of Cincinnati’s downtown area.  It then passed through portions of Hartwell, Arlington Heights, Reading, Amberly, Deer Park, Silverton, Madeira, Indian Hill, and Terrace Park in Hamilton County and near or through portions of Milford, Perintown, Owensville, and Williamsburg in Clermont County.  

The greatest damage and most injuries were from Hartwell to Reading.  Within this area there are numerous apartment complexes, motels and restaurants.  However, major damage and injuries also occurred between Reading and Indian Hill. The area from Indian Hill to Williamsburg is more rural so damages between these points were more scattered.  Total storm damage was estimated at 10 to 12 million in Hamilton County and $200,000 in Clermont County. Within the first mile of the storms path, one restaurant was demolished; part of a large motel was destroyed;  an apartment complex of 400 unites had to be evacuated because of severe damage estimated at over $1,000,000. A railroad freight car was derailed and many automobiles were crushed by trees, overturned, or picked up and dashed to the ground.  Totally, the twister left approximately 1500 persons homeless. Within the tornado’s path, 27 homes were demolished, 200 were heavily damaged and about 2300 others had minor damage. Twenty-five businesses and bout 100 mobile homes also were damaged or destroyed.  

Additional information from Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes

  • Over 2500 homes had some kind of damage.
  • One person was killed in a car.
  • Three members of one family were killed in an apartment building.

Tornado Path

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the August 1969 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • Very small difference here.  SPC has a length of 22.2 miles while Storm Data and Grazulis have 22 miles.

Width:

  • Storm Data has a range of widths from 300-500 yards.
  • Remaining sources list the width at 400 yards.

Sources:

The Storm Prediction Center

NCDC Storm Events Database - Hamilton County Segment

NCDC Storm Events Database - Clermont County Segment

August 1969 Storm Data Publication

newspapers.com

Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1107.