County avoids storm damage

    Adams County escaped damage from thunderstorms and tornadoes on Monday evening, but Van Wert County, just across the border in Ohio, was again hammered by a twister that reportedly left a 3.5-mile-long trail of destruction in the Ohio City area (see below).
    One funnel cloud was reported by a stormspotter near Decatur shortly before 6 p.m., causing the several warning sirens in the city to be switched on, but there was no touchdown here, officials said.
    In fact, no storm damage was reported today in the county by the emergency management and sheriff's departments.
    All roads were open, but some rural roads had water running across them as storm water drained away. A few streets in Decatur had backed up water due to the amount of rain, but that drained away relatively quickly, officials said.
    The most unusual occurrence in Adams County was the rainfall pattern. Al Lehman, the Monroe Town Council president, reported 2.79 inches at his home between 6:06 and 7:34 p.m. Decatur recorded 1.58 inches, but Berne's official weather station reading was a mere one-tenth of an inch!
    The height of the St. Marys River soared. The river stood at 17.3 feet at 7 a.m. today, more than double its 8.2-foot reading of just 24 hours earlier.
    The start of the heavy rain and the following sounding of the tornado siren send fans at the Bellmont-Snider baseball game at BHS scrambling. Some of the fans and players went to the school after the siren sounded.
    Meanwhile, softball sectionals at Norwell and Bluffton were interrupted by the storm.
    The National Weather Service said there is 30 percent chance of thunderstorms in the Decatur area today after 2 p.m., and a 30 percent chance tonight.
    Chances of showers and thunderstorms are listed at 60 percent for Wednesday and 70 percent chance for Wednesday night. Thursday's chances of more shower and storms are pegged at 70 percent for daytime, 50 percent for nighttime.
    Chances drop off to 30 percent for Friday, forecasters said.

    Crews continue working to clean up damage and restore power in many communities across southern and central Indiana today after thunderstorms swept across the area.
    The storms Monday evening blew down trees and caused scattered damage in a swath from Terre Haute through the Bloomington area to Jeffersonville. Authorities had no immediate reports of serious injuries.
    Utilities reported more than 12,000 homes and business remained without power Tuesday morning. That’s down from 64,000 outages Monday night.
    A large tree fell on an apartment building in Bloomington near the Indiana University campus, but no one was hurt. Complex owner Maribeth Coller tells The Herald-Times that at least four apartments are completely destroyed
    The Republic reports that at least two dozen windows were blown out at Columbus East High School.
    Meanwhile, the weather service said a tornado briefly touched down in northwest Indiana’s Jasper County on Sunday afterrnoon.
    The weather service office in Chicago says the EF-1 tornado Sunday afternoon was 50 to 100 feet wide and traveled between 1,500 and 2,000 feet on the ground. An EF-1 tornado has winds of 86 mph to 110 mph.
    Jasper County Emergency Management Director Karen Wilson says the storm tore off about a quarter of the roof of a Farm Bureau Insurance building in Rensselaer (REN’-suh-leer) about 50 miles south of Gary. That debris then damaged another nearby businesses.
    Wilson says no one was injured.
    —The Associated Press contributed to this story.

         An area southwest of Ohio City, Ohio, was struck by what has been classified as an EF-1 tornado during a round of storms which passed through the area Monday evening.
    According to the online newspaper The Van Wert Independent, the twister damaged a barn  and other outbuildings, as well as a house at a residence on Walnut Grove Church Road west of Ohio 118. Damage was also reported to  a pole barn and other buildings at two other residences on the road.
    Van Wert County Emergency Management Director Rick McCoy said Willshire Fire Department spotters were the first to report a rotating wall cloud, at about 6:44 p.m. Monday, and Ohio City Fire Department personnel later observed three funnels touch down west of that village.
    “We can definitely confirm it was a tornado,” McCoy told the Van Wert online newspaper, noting that reports of two funnels also came from the Venedocia area, which he feel could have been two of those reported in the Ohio City area.
    However, there were also reports of damage in the Wren-Landeck Road area, meaning that at least one of the funnels spotted in the Ohio City area could also have hit that area, with a spotter there also reporting a funnel touching down.
    Damage was reported on Walnut Grove Church Road, between Burris and Dull Robinson roads, with also reports of numerous trees down in a four-mile area, as well as utility poles and lines.
    The Associated Press said this morning that funnel clouds were reported throughout Ohio as part of storms that sent trees crashing down and left thousands without power.
    The National Weather Service had not confirmed that any tornadoes touched down Monday night, according to the AP. It says trained spotters reported hail up to 1.75 inches in diameter and wind gusts as strong as 70 mph.
    Trees fell onto homes, roads and power lines. Electric companies reported just after 8 a.m. Tuesday that at least 54,000 Ohio customers had no service.
    Multiple media outlets report that downed trees temporarily closed two southbound lanes of Interstate 71 in Cleveland’s southern suburbs. Also in that area, winds blew down temporary walls surrounding a new food court under construction at the Great Northern Mall. Mall owner Westfield says one person sustained a minor injury.