Utility crews worked through the night to restore power after a line of strong thunderstorms moved through the area last evening. NIPSCO reports 82,000 customers were affected, and more than 45,000 are still without power. These outages are primarily due to broken utility poles, downed electrical wire and other related storm damage as a result of heavy wind and tree damage. Dispatchers in Starke County report a number of trees and power lines down as a result of the storm and say clearing efforts are still under way. Please be mindful of that as you travel this morning.
We’ll have to wait until the sun comes up to fully assess the damage caused by last night’s storms. The National Weather Service issued a number severe thunderstorm and tornado watches and warnings for the entire WKVI listening area as storms packing strong winds, heavy rains and hail moved through the region. Dispatchers in Starke County received reports of trees down on 1100 E., and storm spotters noted hail in Koontz Lake. Some trees were reported down in Pulaski County, and several listeners sent us photos of golf and tennis ball-sized hail. Spotters reported possible tornado sightings in Marshall County last night, but dispatchers there say no damage was reported. Continue reading
The Starke County Airport is still reeling from the damage wrought by Tuesday morning’s storms. Airport Manager Pam Beharry says a number of hangars were damaged and some even destroyed, and five planes were totaled while others were untouched by the 70 mph winds that tore through the area.
Fortunately, Beharry says no one was injured and the planes that did suffer damage carried their own insurance. She says a number of insurance adjustors have already visited the airport, not only to assess the damage on the planes, but also to assess the damage at the airport itself.
Trees blew down around the Starke County Courthouse Tuesday morning and according to Maintenance Director Carl Goodrich, there was damage to the courthouse tower.
“This outfit from Wabash, Atlas Engineering, they came and checked out the structural parts of the tower and that seemed to be okay,” explained Goodrich. “The only thing that really sustained damage was the tile and the capping up there [on the tower]. They’re going to give me an estimate, by Monday hopefully, and see what the repairs are going to cost.”
The repairs need to be done at the very top of the courthouse, which stands over 150 feet tall. That work will be done by crane.
The Starke County Sheriff’s Department’s radio tower suffered quite a bit of damage from this week’s storm. Sheriff Oscar Cowen says a maintenance crew has come in and removed the portion of the tower that was damaged, and the department has had to re-adapt the antenna to allow them to stay in operation until they can have the tower replaced.
Currently, Cowen says they are waiting for the insurance company to come out and look at the damage to determine what they will replace it with, or what kind of antenna they will be putting up in its place. Cowen says they are not sure how long it will take before the damage is repaired, but he has heard the tower itself could cost anywhere from $35,000 and up – but they won’t have a certain figure until the insurance adjustor gives them the OK to have a company repair the damage.
If you have damage at your residence from Tuesday morning’s storms, be careful who you hire to make repairs on your property.
Knox City Building Administrator Greg Matt asks you to exercise caution and make sure the contractor has registered with the City of Knox before you agree to any contract. Matt explains that when the registration is complete, the contractor will receive proof that he is registered with the city.
“They get a card to carry in their wallet that shows that they’re registered with the City of Knox,” said Matt. “Their vehicles also get hang-tags that have a registration number and says ‘City of Knox’. If someone comes to your door, you have every right to ask to see this identification.”
Cleanup and repairs are still underway in Starke County following yesterday morning’s storms. More than 80,000 Hoosiers were without power for a period of time, and Kankakee Valley REMC reports that roughly 3000 people are still without power, while NIPSCO says they still have more than 12,000 people out of service. 412 Knox residents remain without power today.
NIPSCO is reportedly bringing in additional crews from Missouri, Wisconsin, and Ohio, and KVREMC says they are working day and night along with neighboring co-ops to get power restored as soon as possible. Lake and Porter counties were reportedly hit the hardest by the damaging winds and rain, which crossed northern Indiana early yesterday morning, leaving downed trees, snapped electric poles and wires in their wake.
Crews are still working diligently to clean up the damage from last weekend’s series of storms, but Bass Lake Fire Chief Les Jensen says the clean up efforts are going very well. The Starke County Highway Department has been removing branches from roads and power lines, and Jensen says the roads around Bass Lake that were previously closed are now open. However, some branches are still close to the road because cleanup crews had focused on getting the roads cleared and open, but those branches will soon be removed.
The NIPSCO Outage Center reports that only one customer in the Knox area is still affected by outages, with a total of 97 NIPSCO customers affected in Northern Indiana. KVREMC crews are also making efforts to clear lines and undo damages caused by the storm.
It wasn’t a tornado went through the area on Friday, but strong straight-line winds that caused power outages across the listening area and extensive damage to homes and boats at Bass Lake and several other locations.
If you sustained damage caused by severe weather Friday or Sunday, report it to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security by going online to www.myoracle.in.gov/hs/damage. If you don’t have internet access, contact a friend or neighbor for help, or go to the local library and someone can help you with you in this process.