ELIZABETH — Pre-dawn storms that raked Indiana Wednesday spawned a small tornado and damaging winds, uprooting trees, downing power lines and flattening barns and other structures.
The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-O tornado touched down in the Harrison County town of Elizabeth about 3 a.m. Meteorologist Mike Callahan said the tornado packed winds of up to 80 mph as it cut a half-mile track through the area along the Ohio River.
Elizabeth resident Teresa Campbell told WLKY-TV that the twister heavily damaged a barn and old school house on her property and stripped shingles from her home.
"Things were flying, you could hear it and it sounded like a big suction, like a vacuum just sucking," she said.
Her neighbor Matt Marion, who lost a shed, also said it sounded like a vacuum cleaner.
Near the Castleton area of Indianapolis, four large pine trees lay sprawled atop the home of Charles Winternheimer.
"It could have been worse," the 82-year-old Navy veteran told The Indianapolis Star. "I could have been sitting on the commode upstairs reading the newspaper. That's right where a big limb punched right through the roof."
In Greene County west of Bloomington, Emergency Management Agency Director Roger Axe said 15-20 homes in the Solsberry home sustained moderate to severe damage. The weather service blamed straight-line winds of about 70 mph.
The weather service said straight-line winds of 70-75 mph also hit near the southern Indiana city of Salem, imploding the roof of a double-wide mobile home.
Before the storms arrived, Indianapolis set a record high for the date of 65 about 1 a.m. and Fort Wayne had a record high of 64, the weather service said. South Bend had record rainfall of 1.94 inches Tuesday.