WHITELAND, Ind. — With severe storms expected Wednesday, Johnson County officials have suspended all volunteer clean-up efforts in Whiteland and surrounding areas.

People raced to clean up as much as they could Tuesday before the storms got there. On Railroad St., dozens of volunteers spent the day cutting up fallen trees and burning debris.

Neighbors said one home took a direct hit, with half of it left crumbling and the other half leaning dangerously to one side. The house next door had a gaping hole where the wall used to be and you can now see clearly into the living room.

”It was terrifying, it was scary,” said April Isham. “Just hearing the sounds and everything breaking around us.”

Isham was in her home Friday night, the one with the hole where an exterior wall used to be. She and her family rushed to the basement when the power went out, getting there just in time before an EF-3 tornado swept through right outside.

“You hear the crashing and then the wind,” one of April’s daughters, Faith, said. “My mom screams, ‘It’s happening and cover your head and pray’.”

A gas leak in the family’s home caused them to run out right after the tornado passed by, much sooner than they would have liked to leave their basement.

”It looks like a warzone and we weren’t sure where any down power lines were so we had to be careful with every step we took,” April said.

Four days later and the area around their home is starting to look a little better. Debris and fallen trees still litter the yards but not nearly as bad as Saturday morning. Volunteers have spent the last few days helping out here, with dozens there Tuesday.

”We didn’t call a single soul, we didn’t make a single Facebook post,” April said. ”We just came here and started working and people showed up.”

The family has had friends, coworkers and even strangers from outside Whiteland come to help them out.

”The outreach, the love of the community has been the most important thing that’s kept us going through all of this,” April said.

There is some unwanted attention, though. A sign is posted at the entrance to Railroad St. asking “spectators” to leave tornado victims alone.

The family said they are taking things day by day and that they are uncertain of the future, especially since their house will probably have to be torn down. It’s the same spot several people are in across Whiteland, some are choosing to stay in their damaged homes.

”We’re in the process of going around to the homes where people have decided to stay that may or may not be the most safe place for them to be and asked them to relocate to the Greenwood Middle School tonight for shelter,” said Carmen Young, Town of Whiteland Community Development Director.

Young said people are concerned about looting in the town but they haven’t gotten any reports yet. They are keeping an eye out and have started an 8 p.m. curfew in the city.

For anyone in need of help, the Clark-Pleasant Administration Building has been set up as a family assistance center.

”That is for those folks that just need to know where to go with the next steps,” Young said.

Starting Thursday, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security will have 10 additional agencies there to help families recover. Resources like hotel vouchers, mental health help, I.D. assistance and more will be available.

If you want to volunteer to help with clean up that is also where you should go. Young said volunteers will be needed for weeks to come. Efforts will be paused Wednesday with the storm but should pick back up Thursday.

Volunteer crews worked quickly Tuesday.

”We’re trying to get as much done as we can before the weather comes,” said David Hull, a volunteer. “We’re really praying we don’t get another storm.”

If you would like to donate supplies like food, water or clean-up necessities you can drop those off at Heaven and Earth Church or Grace Assembly of God. If you would like to make a financial donation you can go to the Johnson County Community Center or click “donate” on its website.

If you need help or want to know where you can help you can call (317) 671-6521 or email whitelandtornadorelief@gmail.com.