Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 19, 2013

Storms damage parts of Miami County

Trailer park hit hard by winds, still without power Monday.

By Carson Gerber kokomo tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — High winds and a possible tornado in Miami County knocked down traffic lights, billboards, trees and power lines, and left a number of structures damaged after a string of storms rolled through the state Sunday afternoon.

Miami County EMA Director Kris Marks said around five barns, including two hog barns, sustained heavy damage in the southern part of the county.

“You can’t keep anything in those barns anymore,” he said. “They’re scattered out in the field.”

Along U.S. 31, the storm knocked out traffic lights at Ind. 18 and Ind. 218, 100 North and the Business U.S. 31 intersection.

The traffic signal at Ind. 18 still wasn’t working Monday afternoon.

Around 300 REMC customers were without power after the storm, and Duke Energy reported more than 60 residents were still without power Monday morning. Marks said many residents in Bunker Hill also were without power Monday afternoon.

One of the hardest hit areas was Maple Lawn Village, a trailer park at 12948 S. U.S. 31.

Rhoda Partlow, a 42-year-old resident in the trailer park, said she saw a funnel cloud touch down not far from her home.

She said her kids and grandkids, including two 1-year-old babies, were inside when they saw the tornado. Partlow said they all packed into a closet for shelter.

Her daughter, Kacie Partlow, said the sky was dark and green when the gray funnel came out of the sky.

“The whole trailer was shaking,” she said. “It felt like an earthquake.”

When the storm passed, most of the trailers in the park had sustained some kind of damage. Around four were substantially damaged. High winds tore off roofs and dropped large tree limbs onto some trailers.

“We’re very thankful to be alive,” Kacie Partlow said. “God was watching over us.”

The trailer park still was without power Monday afternoon.

Residents helped clean up Monday, dragging limbs from the street and piling them in a nearby field.

Jim Mitchell, a maintenance worker for the park, said he was surprised there wasn’t more damage from the storm.

“I figured most of these trailers would be flipped on their side,” he said.

Marks said the storm wasn’t as destructive as residents anticipated. Compared to other areas, such as Kokomo, he said, the county didn’t sustain too much damage.

“I’ve seen severe thunderstorms cause more damage than this,” he said. “We were pretty blessed it wasn’t worse.”

Cass County Emergency Management Agency Director Alvin Beckman told the Logansport Pharos-Tribune that a tornado traveled from Young America to Lincoln then near Grissom Air Reserve Base. Marks said officials with the National Weather Service will investigate storm damage in the next few days.

“It’s just a waiting game and picking up pieces,” he said.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.