Deadly suspected tornadoes wreak havoc in three Midwestern states

A storm system unleashed apparent twisters in parts of Indiana, Kentucky, and western Ohio, leaving tens of thousands of homes and businesses without power. Tragically, a suspected tornado in western Ohio proved to be deadly, according to authorities.

At least two people were confirmed dead, and possibly more, as a result of the tornado that struck near the southern end of Indian Lake in Ohio. The tornado caused significant damage in several areas, including Lakeview, Midway, Orchard Island, and Russells Point. Logan County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Joe Kpous informed CBS News about the tragic incident.

According to CBS News, Sheri Timmers, a spokesperson for Logan County, reported that there were several injuries following the incident. She also mentioned that an RV park was one of the affected areas. At this time, it is unclear if there are any individuals who are missing.

According to Timmers, several buildings in the Indian Lake area sustained damage, but the exact scope of the destruction remains uncertain.

Amber Fagan, the president and chief executive of the Indian Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, noted that the village of Lakeview had suffered total devastation. She mentioned that homes, campgrounds, and even a laundromat were severely affected by the storm. Fagan also expressed concern over the fires that had broken out in various locations. She further described the extent of the damage, mentioning that power lines had crashed into people’s windows.

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A shelter was established to provide refuge for individuals who had been displaced.

Social media users shared photos depicting significant residential damage in Indian Lake.

In a Facebook post, emergency management officials in Huron County, Ohio, alerted residents to a “confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado” in the vicinity of Plymouth, which is located approximately 75 miles northeast of Indian Lake.

Indiana hit hard

Around the same time, a visible tornado struck the Indian Lake area, while another one wreaked havoc in Winchester, Indiana, about 75 miles to the west.

Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter informed reporters late Thursday that there have been numerous significant injuries, although he was unable to provide a specific count or details about the nature of these injuries. He emphasized that there is still much information that remains unknown at this time.

During the news conference, Carter clarified that although the state police had initially reported investigating reports of deaths, there were no confirmed fatalities at the time.

State officials have requested the assistance of Indiana Task Force One in the search efforts in Winchester, a town with a population of 4,700 located approximately 70 miles northeast of Indianapolis. In a post shared by the rescue team on X, it was revealed that Indiana Task Force One is among the 28 Urban Search and Rescue teams sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the United States.

“I’m completely shaken by the experience; it’s truly overwhelming,” expressed Winchester Mayor Bob McCoy. “The deafening sound resembling that of a train was quickly followed by the piercing wails of sirens.”

During the twister, which struck around 8 p.m., he and his wife found themselves hunkered in a closet. McCoy expressed his unease, stating, “I’ve never heard that sound before; I don’t want to hear it again.”

A Walmart store and a Taco Bell in Winchester were damaged by the suspected tornado, according to Randolph County Sheriff Art Moystner. He mentioned that travel in the county was limited to emergency management workers only.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb took to Facebook on Thursday night to address the severe weather conditions that have affected residents across the state. In his post, he highlighted the presence of emergency response personnel in the impacted areas, emphasizing their efforts to assist those in need.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security took to Facebook to inform the public that their team was present in Randolph County, specifically in Winchester, collaborating with local authorities. They also mentioned that the State Emergency Operations Center had been activated with a heightened staffing level in order to effectively address the impact of the storm.

The Winchester Community High School page announced on Facebook that all the schools in the district would be closed on Friday. Additionally, they mentioned in another post that despite the closure, the high school still had electricity and was available for emergency use by individuals in need of a warm and dry place.

Emergency management officials in Delaware County, Indiana, reported that initial assessments indicate that a potential tornado has caused damage to approximately half of the structures in the small town of Selma, located west of Winchester.

According to a news release from the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency, there have only been minor injuries reported so far, with one person being taken to the hospital for treatment. It is a relief to know that the incident in Selma, which is home to approximately 750 people, has not resulted in any major injuries.

In Indiana, the communities of Hanover and Lamb were hit by storms, causing damage to homes and trailers.

According to Sheriff Ben Flint of Jefferson County, Indiana, the recent storms have caused significant damage in the area. Specifically, three or four single-family homes and four or five other structures have been destroyed, along with several uninhabited campers along the river.

“We were lucky that nobody got hurt,” Flint said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

Gayle Liter and his wife shared with CBS Louisville, Kentucky affiliate WLKY-TV that the tornado had completely destroyed their Hanover home. They had recently moved into the house, and within just three months, everything inside was reduced to ruins. Liter described the devastation as “total destruction.”

According to Sgt. Stephen Wheeles of the Indiana State Police, there were reports of another suspected tornado hitting Jefferson County. This resulted in significant damage to multiple homes, as well as the toppling of trees and power lines.

Kentucky also impacted

The storms in Kentucky caused significant damage, with at least 50 structures, including homes, being affected, according to Andrew Stark, the Trimble County Emergency Management Director.

Stark informed the Courier Journal of Louisville that there is a significant amount of damage.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has issued a statement informing that a tornado has touched down along the Indiana state border in Gallatin and Trimble counties. There have been reports of a couple of minor injuries. The Governor has urged the residents of Kentucky to stay vigilant and informed about the weather, as more storms are expected across the state on Thursday evening and overnight.

According to Beshear, it seems that there has been considerable damage, particularly to the town of Milton in Trimble County. He stated, “We believe that there are more than 100 structures that may have been damaged.”

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced that the state’s emergency operations center has been activated in order to effectively coordinate the response to the storm.

Parts of the St. Louis area saw reports of large hail on Thursday afternoon.

Unconfirmed tornadoes were reportedly sighted in Jefferson County, Missouri, and Monroe County, Illinois. However, there have been no immediate reports of any damage caused by these tornadoes.

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