Heavy storm damage reported throughout Pulaski County

By: Kevin Lewis Email
By: Kevin Lewis Email

On average, more than 1,000 tornadoes are reported each year in the United States.

From Maine to Alaska, every state has been hit at one point and as of Wednesday, Indiana may be the latest victim.

Residents in southwestern Pulaski county and Rensselaer say tornadoes ripped through their communities. The National Weather Service of Northern Indiana has yet to confirm and only says high winds hit in the area.

The American Red Cross tells NewsCenter 16 that a few buildings were destroyed and dozens of trees are down near Medaryville and Francesville.

One tree fell onto a Francesville home, making it uninhabitable. Across town, a pole barn and municipal garage were destroyed as well.

Red Cross crews continued to canvass Pulaski County late into Wednesday evening looking for more damage. An emergency shelter is also on standby.

"We haven't had a lot of tornado activity since the Nappanee tornadoes in 2005. We're more touchy right now than we have been in a couple of years,” said John Pinter with the American Red Cross.

Emergency officials say there are no injuries associated with Wednesday morning's storms.

There were a handful of people who lost power due to downed lines and trees. County managers say those areas have since been restored.

Meteorologist Frank Waugh says safety during storms comes with planning.

"Sometimes it's easy to get complacent. We see it happening in Kansas and Oklahoma, but we can see it here too,” Waugh said.

If you are on the road when severe weather hits, never take shelter in an underpass as they can transform into wind tunnels.

People in high rise buildings should go to an interior hallway; those in mobile homes need to find a sturdy building nearby.

"It’s always going to take you by some sort of surprise when it actually does happen. You know we're humans, we prepare for it, but we never think it's actually going to happen. So when it does happen, make sure you have that plan in place,” Waugh added.

That ‘plan’ includes packing a weather radio to stay informed. Don’t forget essentials like a medic kit, flashlight, money, an I.D., car keys and medicine.

Many people reinforce their garage doors and keep shrubs and trees trimmed to prevent falling limbs from turning into missiles.

"Once you get the warning, take action, don't grab the video camera, don't go outside to capture it, leave that to the professionals,” Waugh concluded.

Because there is a lot to remember, Frank Waugh broke down a list of the three most important things to do in the event of a tornado.

1.) Turn your television's volume up all the way to keep abreast of the situation.

2.) Make sure every person in your family brings a pair of sturdy shoes.

3.) Take a cell phone so you have a way to stay in contact with friends, family and emergency dispatchers.

If you’re in need of assistance, the American Red Cross is available to help around the clock. To get in touch, call: (574) 234-0191

If you have photos of storm damage, send them to newscenter16@wndu.com.

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