Hoosiers continue to assess storm damage Monday

Communities start cleanup process

Gov. Mike Pence, the National Weather Service and Hoosiers spent the day Monday surveying the damage left behind by Sunday’s storms.

Kokomo

Kokomo was one of the hardest-hit areas in the state. The National Weather Service confirmed at least two tornadoes hit the area.

Community members were neck-deep in rubble as they helped to pick up items that couldn’t be replaced.

Jeremy Carlow found a buried photo album with family pictures in the rubble.

"They mean more to me now because I lost them and then I just got them back. You know it's not like your car got stolen and you got it back a week later. You know these are... I can't ever get these back," Carlow said.

Phyllis Rawlins lost the home her late spouse built eight years ago.

"I'm seeing God's hand in everything. In the bad times and the good times, God's hand is always in everything," Rawlins said.

The City of Kokomo issued a curfew for Nov. 18 through Nov. 22 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in all affected areas. The curfew prohibits all vehicular and pedestrian traffic in those areas.

Officials with Duke Energy said storm-related power outages should be restored by noon on Wednesday.

Lebanon

Officials said the tornado that struck Lebanon packed winds up to 120 mph. The National Weather Service said the tornado was 75 yards wide and was on the ground for three and a half miles.

At least 26 homes were damaged, and of those, seven are now uninhabitable.

The tornado took aim on an industrial park, smashing windows, ripping of parts of roofs and collapsing walls.

The system also tore into a Starbucks where travelers on Interstate 65 huddled to get out of the storm.

On Monday, dozens of people grabbed saws to cut down tree limbs and haul away parts of what were once homes.

Lexi Wine, 9, took the day off from school to help her neighbors. She said she didn’t know that a small tornado could cause so much destruction.

One victim tried to put the storm into perspective.

“I'm just trying to stay comical. I know it's not a comical situation, but you have to be optimistic. You can't let it ruin you," Kimberly Saucier said.

Lafayette

District leaders held a meeting Monday to work on a plan for the hundreds of students who were displaced after two schools were damaged by the powerful storms.

The damage impacted almost 1,000 students. The most serious damage was to Southwestern Middle School.

The school has extensive damage to the roof, but the heaviest damage is to the gym. Officials said some classrooms were also destroyed.

Mintonye Elementary School was also damaged in the storms.

Broken glass and roof damage will likely keep students out for at least a month, district leaders said.

The district announced it will use First Assembly Community Ministries at 108 Beck Lane to temporarily house students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.

Students in seventh and eighth grade will be housed at Wea Ridge Middle School located at 4410 South, 150 East in Lafayette.

Students from Southwestern and Mintonye will resume classes at the new locations on Monday.

Other schools in the district will hold classes on Tuesday.

More details here -- http://bit.ly/1bKGuxE

Indianapolis

Although most of the damage was to the north and west, downtown Indianapolis was not spared by the storms.

High winds tore the roof off of a Haughville Church, damaging several Sunday school rooms.

"The roof on the north side was completely peeled back, pulled off, laying out the back. It covered the back door. We had to pull it off just to get around to the back door. And when we came inside, water was just running all down through the floor, through the hallway," Pastor William Harris, with Victory Tabernacle Apostolic Church, said.

Officials with Paul Davis Restoration said the phones at their Fishers office have been ringing off the hook.

"Lots of calls from Kokomo, since we're just outside that territory, some of those calls come to us. But unfortunately, without power, we can't really set up any dry-out equipment yet," Sean Huston said.

Indianapolis Power & Light Company worked Sunday night and all day Monday to restore power. Neighborhoods on the city’s east side were hit the hardest.

Crews began cleaning up what was once the oldest commercial building in historic Irvington. The storms caused the 18-month renovation project to collapse.

Electricity crews said they would not stop working until power was restored to everyone.

Follow Chance Walser on Twitter: @chancewalserrtv | Facebook: Chance Walser

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