Two year anniversary: A look back at the deadly Piner, Ky. tornadoes

Satellite image showing the clouds on March 2, 2012 taking on a funnel shape.
Satellite image showing the clouds on March 2, 2012 taking on a funnel shape.

PINER, KY (FOX19) - It's been two years to the day that powerful tornadoes left a path of death and destruction through Kentucky and Ohio.

March 2, 2012 is a day that some Tri-State residents will never forget.

For those living in the quiet, rural Kentucky town of Piner, their lives were turned upside down by an EF4 tornado.

"I was in complete shock.  I was completely distraught. For a couple minutes, I thought I was going to die," said Doug Imhoff, a Piner resident.

Imhoff was home by himself. While on the phone with his wife, he heard the warnings. Shortly after, his power went out.

"I went out the back and looked out the French doors, and I was telling my wife that it was just really calm out, and I just heard a vibration in the sky," said Imhoff.

In the very next moment, everything was gone.

"I went downstairs and about a minute, minute and a half later, the house was gone," Imhoff recalled.

The Imhoff family just finished remodeling their home a few weeks before the storm hit.  But, photo albums of the leveled Paxton Road home are all that remain.

"Like everybody in the family says, as long as I'm alive, that's all that matters.  You can just bounce back as best as you can," said Imhoff.

He has bounced back.

His family has lived in their new home a little more than a year, which was built on the same site as their old home.  However, when he hears the words "severe weather," he can't help but get a little uneasy.  The chaos of that day almost two years ago is something he'll never forget.

"We still can't believe that we lost our home and everything in a tornado.  It's just that fresh still.  I know I certainly won't ever forget it," Imhoff told FOX19.

Chief Meteorologist Steve Horstmeyer says the tornadoes on March 2 were some of the worst he has ever covered. There were 12 tornadoes that day, injuring 14 people and killing nine. Here is a look back from meteorological point of view:

  1. Tornado near Locust, Carroll Co., KY (EF1) 0 injuries 0 fatalities
  2. Tornado near Holton, IN (EF3) 6 injuries 2 fatalities
  3. Tornado north of Owenton, KY (EF2) 3 injuries 0 fatalities
  4. Tornado  Crittenden to Piner, KY to near Morningview, KY  (EF4) 8 injuries 4 fatalities
  5. Tornado near Peach Grove KY to  Moscow OH toHamersville OH (EF3) ? injuries 3 fatalities
  6. Tornado near Berlin, KY (EF0) 0 injuries 0 fatalities
  7. Tornado near Seaman, OH (EF1) 0 injuries 0 fatalities
  8. Tornado SW of West Union, OH (EF0) 0 injuries 0 fatalities
  9. Tornado NE of West Union, OH (EF2) 3 injuries 0 fatalities
  10. Tornado near Otway, Scioto Co., OH (EF0) 0 injuries 0 fatalities
  11. Tornado NE of Rarden, Scioto and Pike Co., OH (EF0) 0 injuries 0 fatalities
  12. Tornado SW of Piketon, OH (EF0) 0 injuries 0 fatalities

Totals: 12 Tornadoes. 1-EF4, 2-EF3, 2-EF2, 2-EF1, 5-EF0

Injuries: 14  Fatalities: 9

'EF' (Enhanced Fugita Scale) rates the strength of tornadoes on a scale of one to five. Here's how it breaks down:

  • EF0...WIND SPEEDS 65 TO 85 MPH.
  • EF1...WIND SPEEDS 86 TO 110 MPH.
  • EF2...WIND SPEEDS 111 TO 135 MPH.
  • EF3...WIND SPEEDS 136 TO 165 MPH.
  • EF4...WIND SPEEDS 166 TO 200 MPH.

Check out Steve Horstmeyer's blog here for a more in-depth look at March 2, 2012.

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