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Weather Service: Small tornado hit southern Indiana town

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 7:08 pm

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.