DAYTON, Ohio (AP/WLWT) — A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio Monday night into Tuesday morning, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another.
The storms strew debris so thick that at one point, highway crews had to use snowplows to clear an interstate.
At least half a dozen communities from eastern Indiana through central Ohio suffered damage, according to the National Weather Service, though authorities working through the night had reported no fatalities as of early Tuesday. Some 5 million people were without power early Tuesday in Ohio alone.
The communities in Ohio hit the hardest include Northside, Trowtwood, Riverside and Beavercreek.
The Ohio Department of Transportation is using snow plows to remove debris off the highway after The National Weather Service confirmed Monday night that a "large and dangerous tornado" hit near Trotwood, Ohio, outside of Dayton.
Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning said its crews are using several plows to scrape debris off to the side of southbound Interstate 75. Officials said multiple U.S. Routes and State Routes remain closed due to the damage.
"We'll do a more thorough cleaning after we get lanes opened," he told the Associated Press via text early Monday. He said tow trucks eventually will have to deal with damaged vehicles along the roadway, too. He said other crews are also clearing debris northwest of Dayton in Mercer and Darke counties.
"Trying to clear the debris in the middle of the night is a difficult task, complicated by darkness and downed power lines," Bruning said.
In Montgomery County, which includes Dayton, Sheriff Rob Streck is asking people to stay off the roads in areas affected by the storm. His office said many roads in those areas are impassable because of damage.
A Marathon Gas Station about three miles north of downtown Dayton that has stood for about 30 years was destroyed in the tornado.
Another suspected tornado near Vandalia, Ohio, crossed the path of the first tornado, lifting debris in the air, the service said.
Trotwood is about 8 miles (12 kilometers) northwest of Dayton.
In Beavercreek, Ohio, the mayor has declared a state of emergency due to damage from the possible tornadoes. Winds were so strong that residents said a car was picked up by the storm, and windows were knocked out due to powerful winds.
Authorities in Beavercreek said they believe there are no fatalities but have reported injuries due to people being trapped in their homes.
Dayton Power and Light is reporting currently about 60,000 people in the area without power.
Red Cross has opened up shelters across the area for residents that have experienced damage to their homes:
•The Ridge Church, 7555 Brookville Phillipsburg Rd in Brookville, OH.
•Morton Middle School 8555 Peters Pike, Vandalia, OH.
•First Baptist Church of Kettering 3939 Swigart Rd Dayton, OH.
•Trotwood HSHoffman Methodist, 2010 S. Main Street (Miami County)
An Indiana town was also heavily damaged by storms late Monday, including reports of two tornadoes.
"We do not know at this time if this was a tornado, straight-line winds or what the cause was" of damage in Pendleton, 35 miles (56 kilometers) northeast of Indianapolis, said Todd Harmeson, a spokesman for the Madison County Emergency Management Agency.
The National Weather Service said crews will be evaluating the areas Tuesday to see how long the tornadoes were on the ground and what class the tornadoes were.