Tornadoes strike Indiana, 15-20 injured

KOKOMO , Ind., Aug. 25 (UPI) — Eight reported tornadoes — including one confirmed to be an EF3 — touched down in the city of Kokomo, Ind., prompted officials to declare a state of emergency for Howard County.

The Indiana State Police reported between 15 to 20 injuries as the tornadoes passed through the state Wednesday afternoon, crediting advance warnings by emergency systems for keeping the casualty count low. Between 300 and 800 people were displaced in Howard County, and a neighborhood in the county seat of Kokomo sustained the most damage; the fa├žade of a coffee shop collapsed, but all inside evacuated safely.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF3 tornado touched down in Kokomo. Another possible seven tornadoes have yet to be confirmed.

Trees in the city fell, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said, and 24,000 people were without electrical power. He added his city’s hardest-hit neighborhood was one adjacent to an area severely impacted by a November 2013 tornado.

“So there were some of the people who had their homes damaged two and a half years ago. Many of their neighbors are now experiencing the same thing,” Goodnight said.

In nearby Wells County, grain wagons were reportedly thrown 500 feet into the air, and strong winds destroyed barns and mobile homes in western Ohio, the National Weather Service reported.

Gov. Mike Pence, Republican vice presidential candidate, left the campaign trail in North Carolina to return to Indiana. He was expected to tour Kokomo on Thursday.

“It is truly remarkable that there are such a few number of injures or worse in the wake of this storm, given the fact that it literally struck Howard County virtually at shift change in the afternoon, in a great manufacturing town and about the time kids were getting out of school,” Pence said.

Cleanup operations continued on Thursday.

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