Town of Brookston still without power Thursday evening after dangerous overnight storm

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-UPDATE-

BROOKSTON, Ind. -- The White County community of Brookston was one of the hardest hit areas from Wednesday night’s storm.  Winds over 100 miles an hour damaged homes, knocked down trees, utility poles and power lines.

Resident Kerri Lewis remembers what the storm sounded like. “It was weird because you heard the rain and then you kinda heard the trees hitting around and it sounded like the freight train coming,” described Lewis.

Brookston was without power Thursday evening leaving businesses and nearly 1600 residents without electricity.

The strong winds even knocked down an 80 year old tree which caused a natural gas leak. Residents in the area were evacuated. NIPSCO crews contained the leak and the area was fixed late Thursday morning.

The Red Cross is tending to 60 people with food and shelter and will stay in town as long as it's needed.

INDOT crews, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, first responders and emergency management officials are all working together to clear the damage and restore power.

Brookston resident Daniel Peterson says the powerful storm was a frightening situation for his family.

“It’s scary as can be. You’re worried your house is gonna collapse. You’re sleeping and all of a sudden you wake up to loud noises and see a flash of lightening and all of a sudden trees are down in your backyard, your windows are rattling, water’s coming through the windows, you got water coming through the ceiling,” said Peterson.

The gas leak had first responders evacuating nearby residents like the Peterson's.

“Its 2 in the morning and we’re packing up two kids, we have 3 animals and trying to get everyone in the car in the midst of this wind. It was terrifying," said Hannah Peterson.

State roads 18 and 43 into Brookston are expected to reopen late Thursday or early Friday.

Volunteers are needed to help clear tree branches and limbs from yards to help get the power restored.

If you are interested, bring a saw and report to the mobile operations center at State Road 18 and South Wood Street in Brookston. Service could be restored as early as tomorrow.

Meantime, the National Weather Service is assessing the damage. Straight line winds are expected to be the cause of the damage.

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BROOKSTON, Ind. -- The White County community of Brookston has declared an emergency after enduring significant damage during strong storms that passed through Indiana late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

The town council made an emergency declaration to shut down roads and restrict travel to emergency personnel only.

Chantel Henson with White County Emergency Management reported major damage in the town. According to Henson, Brookston was essentially shut down because no one had power. Crews said it may be Friday or Saturday before power is fully restored.

A large gas leak was also reported. The leak was caused by a tree that fell; the roots were wrapped around a pipe and pulled the pipe up when it toppled. NIPSCO said the problem has been repaired.

Photos of damage in Brookston show trees down all over the area. The storm blew out windows and caused trees to crash through houses and fall on cars. No injuries were reported, according to Henson.

The county has called in a strike team to help cut up trees and clear away debris. Officials are also requesting help from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

INDOT crews were helping clear the main roads and IDHS was helping with side streets.

The American Red Cross is providing disaster relief. The organization set up a shelter at Federated Church, 202 S. Wood St., in Brookston to provide meals and snacks to residents affected by the storms.

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