4 Tornadoes Confirmed After Storm Damages Homes

Storms Plow Through Indiana, Leaving Damage

The National Weather Service confirmed Thursday morning that storm damage in four instances in three counties was the result of tornadoes.

Crews surveyed damage and determined that tornadoes touched down in Clay, Hendricks and Hamilton counties. Two storms each produced a tornado in Hendricks County.

The damage was primarily from two supercell thunderstorms that preceded a line of storms that raked across the state Wednesday, prompting numerous severe weather warnings and causing significant damage to some homes and many power outages.

A storm spotter in Harmony, in Clay County, spotted the first tornado at about 4:20 p.m. Wednesday. NWS crews said that tornado packed winds estimated at 70 mph, which made it an EF0 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which measures tornado intensity.

The same storm produced a tornado near New Salem, in Hendricks County, at about 5:30 p.m. Again, winds in that tornado were estimated at 70 mph.

A second supercell thunderstorm dropped a tornado near Lizton, in Hendricks County, at about 6:35 p.m. That tornado stayed on the ground for about 13 minutes and had winds estimated at 90 mph, an EF1 on the Fujita scale.

The original storm dropped another tornado in northeastern Hamilton County at about 7:25 p.m. NWS said that storm packed winds of 120 mph, an EF2 on the Fujita scale.

Hamilton County Damage

The tornado that hit Arcadia in Hamilton County first struck a barn and workshop before plowing into the home of Darrick and Carrie Thomas at the beginning of a path of destruction that stretched for several miles.

"We started getting phone calls one right after another saying, 'There's a big storm coming your way,'" Darrick Thomas said. "I went outside and saw it touch down behind the shop back there."

The Thomas family and their young children huddled inside the basement.

"We had all three in the basement in the corner. It was the worst sound you've ever heard in your life," Carrie Thomas said. "It felt like the whole house lifted off the foundation. It was scary."

The Thomas' home is still standing, but it was beaten and ripped apart by the tornado, scattering many of their belongings in a nearby field.

According to NWS, the tornado moved northeast after hitting the Thomas' home. Larry Essig was driving when he saw the tornado hit the home and move toward his house.

"As it picked up debris, it seemed like it got bigger and bigger. It looked like an obvious funnel cloud moving this way … on the ground," Essig said.

Essig's home and several others in the path were spared as the tornado mowed down trees, ripped apart barns and scattered farm equipment.

"It looks like it lifted around the Hamilton-Tipton County line in the northeast part of the county," said Dave Tucek, of the National Weather Service's office in Indianapolis.

The Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency said a tornado touched down near Arcadia at 7:25 p.m. Significant storm damage was also evident near Omega, also in Hamilton County.

Hendricks County Damage

Near Lizton in Hendricks County, Town Marshal Eric Mohr told 6News that his house and several others nearby were damaged.

"The barn across the road is completely leveled," Mohr added.

Brian Nix owned one of seven homes damaged in a Lizton-area neighborhood just off Indiana 39. The storm ripped apart much of his garage.

Nix said he saw the storm coming, and he and some neighbors hid in his basement.

"When we moved out here, we knew. I said, 'I ain't moving out this way without a basement,'" Nix told 6News' Rafael Sanchez.

Tornado sirens were activated in the area after Pittsboro Assistant Fire Chief Jason Stumm saw a funnel cloud near Lizton.

"Had we not been out watching it, our sirens probably wouldn't have been set off, just because of the simple fact that we had no advance warning," Stumm said.

No injuries as a result of the storms were immediately reported.

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