Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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June 29, 2012

Surprise storm hits

97 degree temps give way to downpour

Straight line winds and heavy rain made a bit of a mess at the Haynes Apperson Festival in downtown Kokomo, and left pockets of damage around the area.

The rain, however, wasn’t enough to save the Haynes Festival’s fireworks show, according to organizer Paul Wyman, who was busy helping with cleanup Friday.

“We haven’t secured the area,” Wyman said. “Our fencing guys need 48 hours to get set up.”

Vendors with food trucks were left largely unscathed as the storm ripped through around 3 p.m., but vendors with tents weren’t as lucky. Merchandise was strewed along Sycamore Street and tents were blown completely over.

No one was hurt at the festival, which wasn’t scheduled to be up and running until 5 p.m.

Wyman said stage technicians managed to lower the lighting rig prior to the storm hitting, thanks to an early warning from the Howard County Emergency Management Agency.

Vendor Jim Miracle, Wabash, was battening down the snaps on his merchandise tent on Walnut Street just after the storm hit, and was feeling particular gratitude.

With about three minutes to spare before the storm hit, two women emerged from a downtown store and told Miracle to get his tent stowed.

“They really saved me,” he said. “A lot of other people had their tents blow away, but I was able to get mine closed,” he said as he stood in the rain, completely soaked.

Reports of power outages and wind damage were buzzing across the police scanner in the aftermath of the storm however, with reports of two transformers on fire.

A semitrailer rolled over at the intersection of U.S. 31 and Ind. 24 in Miami County, Miami County Emergency Management reported, and the roof of a lumber storage shed blew off at Midland Lumber, on the north end of Peru.

Several trees caught on fire, and police and fire crews responded to numerous calls of downed tree limbs and power lines across the area.

• Scott Smith is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He may be reached at 765-454-8569 or via email at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.

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