Severe storms cause damage across Indiana

Staff Writer

    Severe thunderstorms that rolled across the midwest barreled into Adams County Wednesday night, bringing heavy rain, wind, hail and a possible tornado in neighboring Wells County
    The National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings for much of the area as the line approached. A possible tornado was reported on the south side of Bluffton, where there have been reports of destroyed barns, siding and roof damage, and downed trees blocking roads and falling onto buildings.
    No injuries have been reported.
    The NWS has yet to confirm any tornadoes in the area, despite Tornado Warnings that were issued overnight. A team from the NWS office in North Webster will begin damage assessments today, and more damage reports are expected.
    Indiana and Michigan Power Co. reports more than 8,000 customers remain without power this morning in Indiana and Michigan. An estimated time for restoration is not yet known.
    The powerful storms also damaged homes and a gas station in central Illinois and sent tens of thousands of soccer fans seeking shelter during the Copa America semifinal in Chicago.
    Chuck Schoop, emergency manager for Livingston County in central Illinois, said a tornado destroyed the canopy of a gas station and damaged at least four homes in or just outside Pontiac. There were only minor injuries reported, although a couple had been temporarily trapped inside one of the homes, Schoop said.
    The NWS reported another tornado touched down, near the northern Illinois cities of Amboy in Lee County and Earlville in LaSalle County. There are small towns scattered throughout the area surrounded by farm fields.
    Wind gusts were projected to be 70 mph or greater in some places, and baseball-size hail was possible, according to the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.
    The strong band of thunderstorms moving through forced a two-hour delay in Chile’s 2-0 victory over Colombia in the Copa America semifinal at Soldier Field, the home of the Chicago Bears football team. Fans were told to go beneath the stands for shelter.
    Fans also were told to take shelter at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, before their game against the Philadelphia Phillies resumed after a 70-minute delay.
    The Chicago Department of Aviation said 325 flights in and out of O’Hare International Airport were canceled and 90-minute delays were reported. Airlines at Midway International Airport canceled about 70 flights, with 60-minute delays.
    Commonwealth Edison spokesman Anita Martinez said about 15,000 customers remained without power in northern Illinois Wednesday night.
    The Northern Indiana Public Service Co. said it had increased staffing at its customer call center and scheduled extra work crews.
    Some parts of the country, including New Jersey, were already dealing with the aftermath of earlier storms.
    Utility crews in the southern part of the state were restoring power to homes and businesses. Atlantic City Electric said nearly 6,000 homes and businesses remained without power Wednesday, down from more than 34,000 customers on Tuesday.