Powerful storms rattle central Indiana; thousands left without power

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Powerful storms overnight brought down trees and power lines around central Indiana late Wednesday through early Thursday morning, leaving thousands without power.

As of 12 p.m. , Duke Energy said outages affected more than 8,700 customers. Some of the hardest hit counties including Clinton, Hamilton, Hancock, Howard, Rush, Tippecanoe, Union and Wayne counties.

Indianapolis Power & Light reported more than 4,400 outages throughout Marion County. Those outages included the downtown area along with north side, northeast side and east side.

Strong wind gusts battered the state overnight, with a gust of 100 mph recorded in Battle Ground in Tippecanoe County. Other notable gusts:

  • West Lafayette: 70 mph
  • SE Lafayette: 87 mph
  • Rossville: 80 mph
  • Russiaville: 82

In Russiaville, strong winds brought down a cell tower at Union and Seward streets. Crews from Duke Energy were working to restore power there.

The 80-foot tower landed on power lines and an RV business across the street. Employees at a grocery store next door arrived for work Thursday morning to find there was no power.

Jennifer Phillips, an IGA employee, said she had a hard time getting to work in the morning.

“I live about eight miles away and I would start down one way and trees would be down. I had to turn around. That happened several times,” Phillips said.

Phillips told us she had to constantly watch for downed trees and logs while trying to get to work. Officials said the storms brought some of the worst damage they’d ever seen in Russiaville and Howard County.

"Just all of a sudden it was raining sideways and blowing so hard, you couldn't see in front of your face," said Russiaville Town Marshal Roger Waddell. "We heard tree limbs snapping and I heard some stuff blowing around."

In Indianapolis, a tree was uprooted on 54th Street between Crittenden and Norwaldo. It fell across the street and landed on power lines. Despite the incident, the neighborhood didn't lose power.

The homeowner said he didn't hear the tree fall. However, he heard a truck hit the tree. By the time he looked outside, the driver had turned around and left.

In Kempton in Tipton County, winds toppled a tree that hit the roof of a home. Part of the tree ended up inside the residence. Winds there were estimated at about 80 mph.

“There’s no words. It was just so loud. The windows, I could feel them rattling,” said Emma Poindexter, who was inside the home with her grandmother. “My anxiety just kicked in.”

Officials in White County report significant damage there. According to Chantel Henson with White County EMA, trees are down across the town of Brookston, which is essentially shut down. Power is completely out.

Henson said the county is seeking help from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. While the storms blew out windows and brought down trees, no injuries were reported.

Rush County EMA reported that trees and multiple utility lines were down. EMA Director Charles Kemper said the city of Rushville sustained the worst of it, with downed trees damaging several cars and houses. More than 2,000 people were without electricity, and crews were going street-by-street to assess the damage.

 

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