UPDATE: Elkhart County storms leave one person injured and thousands without power

By: Kevin Lewis; Paul Murphy Email
By: Kevin Lewis; Paul Murphy Email

Hundreds of people across Elkhart County are picking-up the pieces after high winds knocked trees and limbs onto roadways and into backyards.

Authorities say at least one man was injured in a motorcycle accident when strong thunderstorms with gusts of up to 81 mph blew through northern Indiana.

The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department reported that Jared Blosser, 24, of Goshen sustained a head injury when a tree snapped a power line that struck him, throwing him from his motorcycle about 10:55 a.m. Monday. There was no immediate word on his condition.

Chain saws were like gold in Osolo Township’s Eastwood Estates subdivision. Hundreds of trees were uprooted; gravity pulled a fair share right onto Bill Williamson's home.

"It is just a real shock. I got here at 11:30 a.m. and it was just a real shock, I didn't really know what to expect,” Williamson said standing in front of his ravaged house.

Also not expected, a midday traffic jam after street lights went black. INDOT crews worked all afternoon at the intersection of State Road 19 and Windsor Avenue to restore the traffic light.

From the roads to the rails, it's believed heavy winds knocked off a Canadian National Railroad crossing gate. Vehicle and train traffic were slowed for a few hours as employees reinforced the crossing.

Power lines weaved a dangerous net of electricity across s County Road 7, just north of the Toll Road. A patch of a half-a-dozen homes saw extensive damage after limbs and entire trees crushed everything from automobiles to human emotions.

"I noticed big black darkness in the back and lightning behind it and within five minutes it was here. By the time I ran to the back of the house, I fell on the porch because of the wind. Then all the trees just came crushing down,” homeowner Ethel Stewart said.

The storm initially left more than 40,000 homes and businesses without power across Michiana. By late Monday afternoon, that number was down to 28,000.

Winds also tossed several trailers at Rance's Aluminum Trailers hundreds of feet from where they say.

Most of the trailers weigh over a thousand pounds, one was thrown over a fence, landing in a nearby field.

Employees say it was truly something you had to see to believe.

"It's hard to fully comprehend considering these trailers weigh so much that trailers flipping in the air and trailers flying into another yard," said employee employee Jason Howe. "We're fortunate the trailers didn't go off onto the Toll Road and we have a filed where they eventually ended up."

Howe said that around 20 trailers were damaged with some being completely destroyed. The company will not know the replacement cost until the insurance is processed.

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