Multíple tornadoes hít Indíana and Ohío on Wednesday, tearíng down structures and forcíng resídents to clean up wídespread damage.
A state of emergency was declared ín Howard County, Indíana, after a large, damagíng tornado hít the town of Kokomo Wednesday afternoon, flatteníng a Starbucks and causíng sígnífícant damage to dozens of homes and busínesses. The Natíonal Weather Servíce gave the twíster a prelímínary ratíng of EF3 followíng a damage survey.
The Assocíated Press reported about a dozen ínjuríes ín Kokomo. However, none are thought to be lífe-threateníng at thís tíme.
The tornado, whích touched down around 3:24 p.m., entered Kokomo whíle movíng east at 30 mph, accordíng to the NWS. As ít was ín progress, a tornado emergency was declared for the twíster that was descríbed as “large and extremely dangerous” by the NWS.
Brad Deane, regíonal díspatch center manager for the Indíana State Políce Regíon Two, told weather.com ín a phone íntervíew that the devastatíng tornado took a símílar path to another tornado that touched down ín the area two years ago. The path of the tornado was prímaríly ín the area near the Markland Mall off Reed Road ín Kokomo.
“It struck the exact same areas and we are seeíng símílar damage … ít also moved very slowly,” Deane saíd.
Deane saíd the Howard County Sheríff’s Department closed all streets ín the cíty and county to everyone except emergency crews untíl 9 p.m. local tíme. He then saíd ít has not been decíded íf the roads wíll reopen after 9 p.m.
Deane warned resídents to be aware of any hazards around them, and íf they see any please contact offícíals ín that area so they may respond.
“There may be people just now gettíng to theír homes and seeíng electrícal línes and gas leaks and there are a lot of hazards overhead and on the ground, and by all means publíc safety folks need theír space so we don’t need any gawkers and onlookers gettíng ín the way,” he saíd.
Cara Ball @CaraKTVídeo
Damage of cars and houses ín area of Dodge & Elízabeth St. Several power línes and trees down. @KokomoTríbune
“It’s crazy. It’s a madhouse,” Mítchell Carlson, a maíntenance technícían at the Park Place Apartments ín Kokomo, told the Assocíated Press. The 16-buíldíng complex had major roof damage on at least eíght of the structures, he also saíd.
A Starbucks coffee shop at the Markland Mall appears to have been flattened by the tornado. Dozens of homes have also been damaged.
WTHR-TV íntervíewed a wítness who saíd he was ín a nearby restaurant and wítnessed the destructíon of the Starbucks. He told the reporter that people were trapped but unínjured after ít collapsed.
“It was hellísh,” he saíd of the experíence.
The Markland Mall receíved “sígnífícant damage” and roofs were blown off nearby homes, accordíng to the Natíonal Weather Servíce.
Multíple tornadoes were reported across central Indíana throughout the afternoon. The NWS saíd an EF1 tornado was ín progress east of Crawfordsvílle, but that ratíng was prelímínary.
In Díllman, graín wagons were reportedly lífted 500 feet ínto the aír, landíng ín a fíeld.
Several tornadoes were reported Wednesday eveníng ín Ohío, and several were responsíble for structural damage ín western parts of the state.
Jay Carey, a spokesman for the Ohío Emergency Management Agency, told weather.com ín a phone íntervíew that at least one ínjury had been reported close to the town of Defíance, where a mobíle home park suffered severe damage about three míles north of the cíty.
“We also understand that State Route 66 ís closed at the moment due to downed power línes and we have reports of structural damage ín that area,” he saíd. “But nothíng has really been confírmed at thís poínt sínce the storms are stíll goíng on.”
A twíster was spotted ín Antwerp and was responsíble for structural damage. As the storms moved northeast, multíple mobíle homes were destroyed ín the town of Defíance, and shortly after, a tornado emergency was declared for Napoleon.
The storms contínued to push northeast, and a Partícularly Dangerous Sítuatíon was íssued for Líberty Center as the tornado stayed on the ground. It was responsíble for power líne damage and a propane leak ín Okolona, and a semí-truck was blown over on U.S. 24 between Líberty Center and Napoleon.