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Storms, Tornadoes Tear Into Ohio, Indiana

September 21, 2002|From Associated Press

MONROE CITY, Ind. — Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes raked the Midwest on Friday, injuring people at an Ohio festival and damaging dozens of homes in Indiana.

Lights set up for a festival in Crestline, Ohio, toppled in the wind and fell on a crowd. Two people were in critical condition and eight others went to hospitals.

There were many reports of injuries in Indiana, but all of them were minor, said Alden Taylor, a spokesman for the State Emergency Management Agency.

The storm dumped about 5 inches of rain in a nearly 100-mile stretch from Vincennes to Indianapolis. The Indiana National Guard planned to send two helicopters out this morning to survey the damage.

Several transmission towers were destroyed, and about 80,000 people were without power.

"It's been several years since we have had widespread damage in the state like this," Taylor said.

Areas of Ohio reported tree limbs, power lines and barns being knocked down.

Witnesses reported seeing a tornado near Monroe City, about 100 miles southwest of Indianapolis, that damaged 12 to 15 homes and destroyed some of them, said Steve Dillon, director of Knox County emergency management.

Weather forecasters issued several tornado warnings Friday, including one in southwestern Pike County that Lori Dedrick heard while she was shopping. She rushed to her parents' home to wait out the storm in the basement with her parents.

"Within five minutes, our ears started popping" because of the tornado, Dedrick said.

The storm tore off the deck of the house and a neighbor's roof, Dedrick said.

Ten to 12 houses were destroyed and an apartment complex was damaged in Ellettsville, 50 miles south of Indianapolis, Taylor said. Officials had reports that 15 trailer homes and a county garage were destroyed in Posey County in southwestern Indiana, he added.

Strong winds also destroyed homes and a church in Indianapolis, tore off part of the roof of an Indianapolis YMCA and flipped at least 40 cars in a mall parking lot in Greenwood, just south of the capital.

"It sucked all the pressure out of the building," said Brian Daley, who was working out at the YMCA when the storm hit. "The doors flew open. We had to fight our way back."

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