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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Tornado hits Clay County: Worst fears almost realized by storm

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Ketner family truck was damaged by a falling tree during the storm on Monday.
(CC Brackman photo)
Residents of Ashboro had their worst fears almost realized Monday evening, when a tornado went through the area, just missing the Exotic Feline Rescue Center.

Storm sirens sounded in Brazil to signal an area tornado threat at approximately 6:30 p.m.. Witnesses reported seeing a funnel cloud touch down in the area of S.R. 59, and S. R. 42 moving Southeast toward Center Point.

Local authorities verified the tornado, and followed the path it made as it went down S. R. 59 through Ashboro, where it uprooted trees, scattered debris and dropped trees on a garage.

"We were really scared," Charlie and Barbara Wharton, Ashboro, said. "It came out of nowhere and just tore up our trees and dropped them on our garage. We were lucky no one was hurt, really lucky."

Nearby, at the Ketner residence, trees lay across their truck, with trees also strewn about their yard.

Brendan Kearns snapped this picture of Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Brison Swearingen stopping in an unidentified location to watch the storm cut across Clay County Monday evening. If you look to the right of the picture, on the horizon, you can see the funnel cloud start to drop from the sky near Ashboro.
"I can't believe how fast it happened," Debbie Ketner, said, visibly shaken. "I can't believe how many trees were destroyed. I don't even know what else is damaged."

The tornado whipped across S. R. 46, and hovered over Dietz Recreation Park. It then moved Southeast toward Bowling Green, teasing watchers by sucking back up into the clouds and then touching down again and again.

Over on C. R. 200 E., the tornado touched down, this time in Mike Schopmeyer's yard.

Schopmeyer and his family were Indiana's family of the year for the 2006 Special Olympics. They have two sons that compete in the games, and they have been foster parents to over 40 children throughout the years.

The tornado shredded trees, blew shingles off the roof, tore up the patio and pool area and blew apart their dog house like a bomb had exploded.

"We were totally caught unaware," Suellen Schopmeyer said. "Our oldest son Brian was outside when it started, and we couldn't find him. I haven't been that scared in a long time. He had run into the house when trees started falling around him. Thank God, we were all OK."

Her son Joe wasn't as thankful.

"I wish we were back in Florida," Joe said. "We don't get tornados there."

Several area responders were on hand to lend support, clear trees off roads and power lines and make sure everyone in the area was OK, before finally heading back home themselves.

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