Thousands left without power after tornadoes slam through Indiana
Multiple tornadoes and thunderstorms slammed the Midwestern U.S. state of Indiana on Wednesday, leveling a Starbucks coffee shop and cutting electricity to thousands.
Two severe thunderstorms in the state produced tornadoes, one northwest of Indianapolis and the other near Kokomo, a city of 45,000 about 60 miles (97 km) north of Indianapolis, AccuWeather.com reported.
A “confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado” was located near Indianapolis, Indiana, and was moving east at 20 miles per hour (32 kmh), the National Weather Service said.
Local television station WTHR reported a large tornado in Kokomo had flattened a Starbucks coffee shop and caused substantial damage to a shopping mall. There were no immediate reports of injuries, the National Weather Service said.
Photos posted on social medial showed homes with siding ripped off and debris in yards. Another photo showed a barn reduced to rubble. Local television footage showed overturned cars.
More than 22,000 customers were without power north of Indianapolis, Duke Energy reported on its website. Another utility, the Indianapolis Power and Light Company, said roughly 11,000 customers were without electricity in the afternoon.
A tornado was reported east-northeast of downtown Indianapolis on Interstate 70, the NWS said in a bulletin, citing law enforcement sources.
Footage on the broadcaster’s website showed a dark swirling storm with flashes of lightning and thunder as cars drove along wet roads in the area.
Howard County emergency management and sheriff’s office officials said they were gathering information on the extent of damage in the area and whether there were any casualties.
The county issued a state of emergency until 9 p.m. EDT.
“Please avoid any areas affected by the tornados – do not drive to look at damage – allow emergency crews to do their work,” the county tweeted.
Tornado warnings were issued before 3 p.m. local time as a storm moved through Boone and Montgomery counties, including Crawfordsville, a city of some 16,000 residents about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Indianapolis.
The National Weather Service forecast severe thunderstorms and heavy rain on Wednesday across portions of the central plains and mid-Mississippi Valley.
(Reporting by Eric Walsh in Washington and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Matthew Lewis)