A freak thunderstorm packing winds in excess of 65 miles per hour passed through Decatur and Adams County on Friday, leaving a trail of destruction — but no serious injuries initially reported — in its wake.
A truck driver suffered what were described as minor injuries when his rig was blown over by high winds at approximately 3 p.m. Friday just on U.S. 27 just south of the intersection with U.S. 33. One law enforcement official said it was one of two semis that were toppled during excessively high winds that struck the county around 3 p.m. The other incident reportedly took place farther south on U.S. 33.
Decatur took on the look of a war zone after the severe summer storm passed through, with limbs big and small littering the streets, making many streets impassable. Many power lines were pulled across roadways by the falling trees and limbs. Some of the downed power lines were "hot."
Trash cans and swing sets were blown over and other minor damage was quickly apparent.
Transformers were blown, leading to numerous power outages. Many small fires also were reported, most of them trees.
Emergency personnel swung into action almost immediately and it appeared that ever available person was on duty. Calls were pouring into the communications center at the county jail.
One law enforcement official said a house along U.S. 224 near Preble was heavily damaged, with parts of the home stewn into the highway. Those reports were not immediately confirmed.
Several trees and large limbs were seen scatted across the campus of Bellmont High School and in many neighborhood years. There were no immediate reports of injury.
Firefighters were called around 4 p.m. to a fire near the intersection of Line and Grant streets that emergency radio traffic described as "getting out of control." Other smaller fires were reported throughout the county but no additional information was available as The Democrat went to press.
Shortly after 4:30 p.m. Hoagland firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire and diesel fuel leak near CR 900N and State Route 101. County Road 000 was reportedly closed south of CR 900 North at that same time with at least three trees blocking the roadway.
Cell phone service was spotty during the storm, and one local law enforcement official said the 800 mhz emergency radio system was clogged, making communications difficult.
Reports of power outages throughout Decatur were beginning to surface later in the afternoon. The Back 40 Restaurant reportedly closed for the evening after electric service was interrupted there. Two transformers reportedly were on fire in Decatur, and traffic signals from Nuttman to 2nd Street were not operating.
A one point, CR 000 was closed by fallen trees south of 900 N.
Bunge North America also apparently was experiencing some problems, as indicated by a loud noise coming from the complex for some time.
Later, sight-seers began clogging city streets.
Damage also was reported in Geneva, Linn Grove, Berne and Geneva. There were reports of a tree having fallen into a Geneva home.
In Fort Wayne, a 91 mph gust was measured at Fort Wayne International Airport, the weather service said. Fort Wayne police confirmed power lines were down across Clinton Street at Parnell with power out.
Considerable damage also was reported in Fort Wayne.
In Paulding, Ohio, an 84 mph gust was measured, an emergency manager reported to the weather service.