DAYTON, Ohio — As you travel through Dayton, Ohio and along I-75, you'll still notice blue tarps on the roofs of homes damaged by tornadoes on the evening of May 27 under the shroud of darkness.
But we wanted to know if this was a common scene -- this slow recovery -- or if most had rebuilt and moved on with their lives. Here's a look at the flight I took on Chopper 9.
Our flight started in Brookville, Ohio, where the 20-mile-track tornado touched down with 135 mph winds. When the sun rose the next morning, we saw that the roof was gone at the high school, and the neighborhood east of the school was heavily damaged.
And this is what it looks like now. Blue tarp after blue tarp. Boarded-up homes. Others completely exposed to the elements, and others completely demolished and in the process of reconstruction.
We continued our flight to the east and within seconds, we looked down to find these homes off Westrook Road, where you can still see into the second story of the homes.
This small journey east proved that the slow recovery isn’t just impacting one income bracket. Some of these large homes look as though they’ve barely been touched post-tornado, while some are close to being finished.
The next scene in Trotwood, Ohio, was startling. The apartment complexes that were hit were still in dire shape. Carports look as though a bomb just went off yesterday.
The reality is, it’s been six months.
So the question is, "why?" Recovery takes time, but it’s painfully obvious that people are still trying to piece back together their lives as the colder weather arrives to the Tri-State.
The most common answers were as follows:
- Not enough contractors (long delays)
- Disputes with insurance companies over coverage
- Abandoned homes
Our partners at WHIO talked to Brienne Enscoe of Harrison Township within the last month.
"We've had trouble with tree service," Enscoe said. "That's been a big issue."
And even contractors who want to help are taking on larger loads than usual.
"Usually we do about 300 properties a year with the city contract and we're probably up to about 450 this year with the tornado. So we've demoed an additional 150 properties," said John Scott, president of Black Cutters Inc.
But we did hear positive news from Brookville City Manager Sonja Keaton where one of the tornadoes started.
"We had so much community support, business and individuals from near and far assisted our residents with their cleanup efforts," Keaton said. "Had we not received such an overwhelming response following the tornado, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
The Dayton-area tornadoes are still on so many minds, but as we know life goes on. Still, as we saw on our flight, there is proof that so many families and so many people are still reeling from the tornadoes that hit six months ago.