Tornado, Other Storms Leave Extensive Damage Behind

Damage Reported In Several Counties

At least 18 people were injured late Friday night as a tornado tore a narrow path through part of Indianapolis' east side and straight-line winds did damage in several surrounding counties.

Buildings were heavily damaged at the Falcon Point apartments on Marietta Drive, off 38th Street and Mitthoeffer Road, near the end of the 2.5-mile path the twister took.

More than 170 people were forced from their homes, and officials said that number could go higher as crews conduct storm damage assessment to determine whether homes are livable.

The National Weather Service said Saturday that the tornado was roughly 150 feet wide and rated an EF-2 in intensity, with winds estimated at 125 mph. It touched down just before 10:30 p.m. near the intersection of 42nd Street and Post Road and moved southeast to 38th Street, near German Church Road, before lifting.

NWS employees said the tornado was only on the ground for about three minutes, but it left plenty of destruction in its wake, along with straight-line winds of up to 80 mph that also accompanied the storm.

Authorities said 95 percent of 218 apartments in 35 buildings at Falcon Point were occupied, making it almost incomprehensible that no one was seriously injured, given the scope of the damage.

About 150 people from the complex were evacuated to John Marshall Middle School. Most of those people were taken to a temporary Red Cross shelter at the First Church of the Nazarene, near 25th Street and Post Road.

"It was pretty devastating," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. "I walked through the shelter this morning. Many were still asleep ... but others were traumatized."

Crews went back into the buildings Saturday morning and determined no one was still inside.

Homes west of the apartment complex were also damaged. The roof was lifted away from several homes, and others were battered by debris.

Another apartment complex, near the intersection of 42nd Street and Post Road, was also heavily damaged. A portion of a roof and side of a building were ripped off.

"The very east end of the apartment complex was hit," said Lawrence police Lt. Dan Stephens said. "We have debris east of the location into a shopping area."

At least one home near 42nd Street and Post Road was flattened, and others had substantial damage.

More than 100 people had gone to the Red Cross temporary shelter as of 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Anyone who needs help from the Red Cross because of storm damage can call 317-684-1441.

Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Gregg Harris said a large portion of the roof on the gymnasium at John Marshall Middle School was destroyed by high winds.

Indianapolis Power and Light said about 65,000 customers were without power at one point in the storm. As of 11 p.m. Saturday, 26,000 were still without power. IPL said power might not be restored in some areas until Monday evening.

Indianapolis Metro police asked that people stay away from the Falcon Point apartments and damaged homes in the area.

Storms Do Damage In Surrounding Counties

Numerous trees were downed and some homes and barns were damaged in Henry County, east of Indianapolis, 6News photojournalist Shea Goodpaster reported. Power lines were reported across Interstate 70 near the Mount Comfort exit, also east of Indianapolis.

In Hamilton County, lightning sparked numerous house fire, authorities said. Three homes burned on Woverton Way in Fishers. Officials said the fire started at one home and spread to two others. Two other homes in Fishers and one in Carmel were struck by lightning that started fires.

Trees and power lines were downed in the southern part of Montgomery County.

The communities of Marshall, Tangier and Montezuma, in Parke County, had wind damage. Trees and power lines were downed, but there were no immediate reports of damage to homes.

Trees and power lines were also reported down in Tippecanoe County, with the community of Battle Ground hardest hit, authorities said.

Wind damage was also reported in Vermillion County, particularly in the Newport area.

Trees fell on some homes in the northern part of Hendricks County, but there were no reports of serious structural damage.

Storms also raked the western part of Marion County. Trees and power lines were downed in the Speedway area.

Numerous houses and barns were reported damaged in Hancock County.

Series Of Storms Caused Damage

Several tornado warnings were issued for counties around the Indianapolis area as a series of supercell thunderstorms hit parts of the region.

The first storm tracked across portions of Tippecanoe, Clinton, Carroll and Howard counties. A storm spotter reported a possible tornado in Pyrmont, in Carroll County. The National Weather Service on Saturday confirmed that a weak tornado briefly touched down there at about 7:30 p.m., but caused no structural damage.

Several reports of wall and funnel clouds came in from Howard County at about 8 p.m. Wind damage was also reported near Peru, in Miami County, with several trees downed.

A second storm tracked across portions of western Indiana, including Vermillion, Parke, Montgomery and Hendricks County, prompting more reports of wind damage and small hail.

A third storm, part of a ragged line of thunderstorms, moved across northern and central Marion County and into Henry County, prompting a tornado warning and much of the damage.

Duke Energy reported that as many as 23,000 homes lost power at some point during the storm, but power had been restored to all but about 1,300 customers by 11 p.m. Saturday.

Heavy rain also caused flash flooding in numerous counties.