Several tornadoes plowed through central Indiana on Wednesday, demolishing numerous homes and a Starbucks cafe in the town of Kokomo and cutting off power to thousands of Indianapolis-area residents, but no serious injuries were reported.
Governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, who cut short a campaign trip for running mate Donald Trump and returned to Indiana, said eight funnel clouds were confirmed and three touched down during a “very tough day of weather.”
Tornado warnings were issued in 27 counties, but no one was known to have been killed or badly hurt, Pence said, adding that he would remain in Indiana for “as long as we need to be here.”
Pence planned to visit storm-ravaged areas with Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb on Thursday.
Ten to 12 people were reported to have suffered minor injuries in Howard County, which apparently bore the brunt of the storms, according to John Erickson, spokesman for the state Homeland Security Department.
At least one “large and extremely dangerous” tornado struck near Indianapolis, the state’s capital and largest city, as severe thunderstorms rolled through the region in the late afternoon, the National Weather Service said.
But Kokomo, a city of 45,000 people about 60 miles (100 km) north of Indianapolis, appeared to be the epicenter of storm damage, including a flattened Starbucks outlet and numerous houses left splintered or with roofs and walls torn away.
The entire front wall and facade of the Starbucks could be seen abruptly collapsing in the wind in cellphone video footage shot from a bar across the street and aired by Indianapolis-based NBC News affiliate WTHR-TV.
Starbucks customers and employees “piled into” the restroom to shield themselves as the storm closed in, according to a police account related to Reuters by City Councilman Bob Cameron.
“They all got in there. That was a smart move,” he said, adding that shoppers at a nearby Krogers supermarket likewise waited out the storms in coolers at the back of the store.
An adjacent shopping mall was reported to have been heavily damaged, and Erickson said a nursing home in Howard County also sustained storm damage.
Aerial footage of Kokomo broadcast by WTHR showed a five-block residential area where at least 10 homes were largely obliterated and several others heavily damaged.
Photos posted online by Indianapolis Fox affiliate WXIN-TV showed a garden apartment complex heavily damaged in Kokomo.
The Salvation Army of Indiana reported assisting 200 people in need of food and shelter. Indianapolis public education officials delayed sending school children home on buses for nearly two hours, waiting until the weather cleared.
Power outages were reported across the state, with about 42,000 homes and businesses without electricity at the height of the storms, including 24,000 outages in Howard County alone, Erickson said.
Howard County issued a state of emergency to remain in effect until 9 p.m. Thursday.
(Reporting by Susan Guyett; Additional reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago, Eric Walsh in Washington, Eric M. Johnson in Seattle and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Nick Macfie)
New book details the way Russians funneled money through Trump’s real estate empire using a money laundering middleman
In a new book, investigative reporter Tom Burgis details the shocking ways in which corrupt leaders used Russian "businessman" Felix Sater to conduct sketchy deals, including ones for President Donald Trump.
According to the Daily Beast, Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World reports the "terrifying" and true tale of overwhelming corruption, "clandestinely fusing their business interests, and forming alliances."
While corrupt leaders have spent decades "guzzling their nations' wealth," the rest of the world is struggling to keep such lawlessness in check.
Lindsey Graham is in ‘deep trouble’ as he focuses on doing Trump’s bidding: report
According to two polls out of South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) is either trailing or barely hanging on with Senate seat on the line in November's election.
Forbes reports that Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison is trailing Graham by one point (45% to 44%) in a CBS news/YouGov poll of likely voters, and an internal poll from Harrison's campaign shows the incumbent Republican trailing 43% to 45%.
Republicans alarmed Trump may have given Biden a big assist before Tuesday’s debate: report
As the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden looms, Republican insiders are worried that Trump's attacks on the former vice president will come back to haunt him after the president and his campaign spent months portraying Biden as decrepit and not up to the job of leading the country.
According to a report from the New York Times, the Trump campaign's history of posting highly-edited videos on social media of Biden appearing to fall asleep or forget his words are about to blow up on Trump's team when Biden takes the stage and goes one-on-one with the president.