Residents cleanup following severe storms in Columbus

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COLUMBUS, Ind. (July 14, 2015) - The cleanup is well underway in parts of Bartholomew County after Monday night’s storms left some communities devastated.

“It would have been a disaster had they been home sleeping. So it’s a blessing. You need to look for the small things in life,” said Mary Jane Stewart.

Stewart collected what she could after a tree destroyed her brother’s home. The tree landed in her brother’s bedroom. Fortunately, he was on vacation with his family when the storms hit.

“Unfortunately the house is not able to be inhabited at this point. We’re moving out everything we can before the next storm comes through and trying to salvage clothing and items they’ll need in their next home,” said Stewart.

Monday’s storms left two homes in one Columbus neighborhood with trees splitting them in two. Multiple cars were left smashed to pieces.

“This neighborhood, the name of the area’s Forest Park and we’re proud of our trees. The big trees, hate to miss them,” said Mark Rediker.

Rediker has lived in Columbus’ Forest Park neighborhood for 20 years. He said he had not seen his neighborhood left this devastated in a long time. He and his son Tuesday did what they could to help clean up the mess.

“It’s been another, I guess horrific thunderstorm that’s come through. This is the second time that I’ve seen it this bad in the neighborhood,” he said.

“It’s definitely going to take weeks for the cleanup, if not months,” said Bryan Burton, Director of the Columbus City Garage.

Burton’s street crews were out in force Tuesday clearing what monster storms left behind.

“We had a lot of trees blocking roadways, so that was our first priority to get the roadways opened up. We’re continuing that today and then we’ll start picking up debris as the homeowners or residents pile it out to the curb,” said Burton.

Elsewhere in Bartholomew County, flooded streets were a major concern. Tuesday saw more than 40 flood rescues from cars trapped in water.

“We’re getting a lot of field runoff, it’s called areal flooding. We did get in between 3-4 inches in different parts of the county and this is the result,” said Dennis Moats, Director of Bartholomew County Emergency Management.

At the peak, there were more than 8,000 Duke Energy customers out of power in Bartholomew County. City officials estimated it would take at least 48 hours to have power restored to everyone.

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