Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

November 18, 2013

Storm strafes city

Wind flips cars, destroys buildings; no deaths reported

City and county emergency crews worked through the night to assess and clean up the devastation left in the wake of what officials said appeared to be a tornado, which slammed into the city’s south side Sunday afternoon.

Winds of more than 80 mph tore through the city, flipping cars, demolishing homes and businesses, and downing power lines that left about 16,000 Howard County residents without electricity Sunday evening.

Limbs, trees and debris littered the streets, causing city and county officials to ban all vehicle and pedestrian traffic until 6 a.m. today.

Throughout the night, firefighters went door to door in the most heavily damaged neighborhoods, checking for any unreported accidents or injuries.

Howard County Sheriff Steve Rogers said Sunday no deaths were reported after the storm, but a number of residents were transported to hospitals with minor injuries.

Rogers said officials have yet to say the destruction was caused by a tornado, but he said officers reported spotting a funnel cloud touch down in the western part of the county.

“I think some of the damage we’re seeing is indicative of a tornado,” he said. “But we’ll leave it up to the National Weather Service to tell us exactly what happened.”

High winds, hail and heavy rain in Kokomo were part of a string of storms that passed through the state Sunday, causing damage and power outages in many towns and counties.

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said Sunday he believed Kokomo suffered the most storm damage in the state.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said the city sustained substantial property damage. He said every street and emergency crew in the county and city were on scene after the storm to guide traffic, help residents and clean up the piles of debris on nearly every street.

Goodnight said he talked to Gov. Mike Pence Sunday, who offered assistance from state agencies such as INDOT and Homeland Security to clean up the city.

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