Storms cause widespread damage, put 15,000 people in the dark

By: Kevin Lewis Email
By: Kevin Lewis Email

Sunday’s fast moving storm system came and went leaving thousands of trees uprooted and power lines on the ground, all of which caused major power outages.

At one point, there were more than 15,000 people without power across Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan according to Midwest Energy, NIPSCO and I&M.

As of late Sunday night, many homes had been restored, but hundreds were still living off the grid.

The widespread damage was reported in nine of the ten counties within the WNDU viewing area.

Headlights and tree limbs lined roadways, they also lined Mike Rasmussen's backyard, his fence, swing set and Ford Taurus.

"I got to go to work Tuesday, so that means I got to work all day Monday cleaning this mess up,” Rasmussen said.

Fire trucks lined Miami Road in St. Joseph County after electric wires fell on trees and sparked a fire.

A much more opposite story unfolded along U.S. 31, just south of New Road after an electric wire fell directly across all four lanes of traffic. Emergency workers blocked all north and southbound traffic for more than two hours before I&M crews cleared the scene.

"All at once the electricity went out and there was nothing, maybe the end of the world is coming,” Velma Hardy said jokingly.

Every tree survived on the Hooverview Farm in Elkhart County, if only the main barn had been so lucky.

"I guess any building man makes, will not stand forever, it will eventually give way,” farm owner Marlin Hoover said standing inside the damaged structure.

The wind ripped the vinyl canvass like paper; it bent the steel like Play-Doh.

"The force was strong enough that it tore the brackets out of the framework,” Hoover added.

All while nearly 200 cows stood inside, each one somehow survived.

Farm owners say the three-year-old barn was not insured and its warranty has since expired. Damage is estimated at more than $200,000.

The Brethren Church is already planning to assist the farm in reconstructing the 26,000 square foot structure. It will take at least two months to complete.

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