Victims of Deadly Midwest Tornado ID'd

An American flag flies nears a tornado damaged house in Lake Township, Ohio, Sunday, June 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo
Last updated at 4:26 p.m. ET

An Ohio police chief has revised the death toll downward from seven victims to five in a powerful weekend tornado that left dozens homeless in the Midwest.

Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer said Monday that officials likely double-counted people who died at the hospital with victims previously identified as dying at the scene.

Hummer says authorities were dealing with multiple counties, agencies and hospitals when trying to figure out how many had died.

A mother and her young son and the father of the valedictorian from a high school now in ruins were among those killed in a weekend tornado that was Ohio's most powerful in eight years, authorities and relatives said Monday.

The tornado was part of a line of storms that tore through the Midwest over the weekend, destroying dozens of homes and ripping off a movie-theater roof in Illinois and siding at a Michigan nuclear plant, forcing a shutdown.

But the worst destruction was in northwest Ohio, where the tornado flattened an emergency services building and left a strip up to 300 yards wide and 10 miles long littered with wrecked vehicles, splintered wood and family possessions.

Crews were working Monday morning to put up power lines to restore service to an estimated 1,000 customers. But the most devastated neighborhoods were quiet compared with Sunday, when hundreds of volunteers cleaned up debris.

Tornadoes Sweep Through Midwest

Jim Mazey, 35, spent about 16 hours Sunday searching for belongings from a friend's house that was destroyed. They found a baby blanket, birth certificates and a family cat that was still alive.

Six people were in the home's living room and trying to get to the basement when the tornado came through. Five were injured, two of them seriously.

"I look at this and can't believe they lived. The Lord was looking out for them," Mazey said Monday when he came back to search for more.

The tornado victims included Mary Walters, 36, and her 4-year-old son, Hayden, who were sleeping when the tornado struck late Saturday, said Mary's sister, Amy Sigler. Only the foundation remains where their home once stood.

Walters' death came a day after she took part in a youth sleepover at a church, said her sister, Sigler. More than anything, Walters was a Christian and a mother, Sigler said Monday.

"Her life revolved around her relationship with Jesus," she said.

Ted Kranz, 46, whose daughter was to address her high school class as valedictorian, also died, the Wood County coroner's office said Monday.

Bailey Bowman, 21, of Walbridge and Kathleen Hammitt, 56, of Wauseon also died, the coroner's office said. The circumstances of their deaths were not immediately available. The identities of the two others who died have yet to be released.

The tornado rated a 3 on a 0-5 scale for measuring tornadoes, with 5 being the most severe, according to preliminary information from the National Weather Service. Category 3 tornadoes have gusts of 136-165 mph.

It was Ohio's most powerful tornado since one with winds topping 200 mph that hit in 2002 about 75 miles northwest of Saturday's storm, said Kirk Lombardy, a meteorologist at the weather service office in Cleveland. The 2002 tornado was part of a storm system killed five people statewide.

At least 50 homes were destroyed over the weekend and another 50 severely damaged, as well as six commercial buildings. The storm fell over an area of farm fields and light industry, narrowly missing the heavily populated suburbs on the southern edge of Toledo. Damage could top $100 million, Wood County emergency management director Brad Gilbert said Monday.

The tornado turned a township police and emergency medical services building into a mishmash of 2-by-4 framing and pink insulation. At least six police vehicles - half the township's fleet - were destroyed, and one car was tossed into the spot where the building once stood.

"It's a war zone," Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer said.

The tornado ripped the roof and back wall off Lake High School's gymnasium hours before the graduation ceremony was supposed to begin there. The ceremony was rescheduled for Tuesday at a Toledo community college.

In southeastern Michigan, severe storms and high winds ripped siding off a building at the Fermi 2 nuclear plant, causing it to shut down automatically, said Dan Smith, the public information officer for Monroe County.

DTE Energy, which owns the plant on the shore of Lake Erie, is investigating the damage, and there's no estimate when the plant will operate again, spokesman Guy Cerullo said.

Eleven people with minor injuries were taken to hospitals from Dundee, Mich., where a tornado touched down with winds of about 130 mph.

Tornadoes also were reported in Illinois. More than a dozen people were injured in Dwight, where about 40 mobile homes and 10 other homes were destroyed, Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson said.

The roof of a movie theater collapsed in Elmwood, about 30 miles west of Peoria. About 200 people who had been inside were evacuated to the basement and no one was hurt, state Trooper Dustin Pierce said.

The storms left a trail of damaged homes in northern Indiana and three tornadoes touched down, but no one was injured. In eastern Iowa, buildings were damaged and one person was hurt when a tornado touched down in Maquoketa.

The storm front, weakened as it headed east, knocked down trees and power lines across New York and produced high winds in Pennsylvania. An Ohio man died after his camper overturned on him during a strong storm in northwestern Pennsylvania, state police said.