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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Putnam pummeled, but little damage

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Literally, it was a dark and stormy night (and day) Tuesday, and as bad an intro to a novel as that might be, it pretty much sums up the storyline for what happened in Putnam County.

The area got lots of rain. Heavy rain.

Officially it was 4.15 inches in the two storms occurring about 12 hours apart Tuesday, according to Chris Edwards, severe weather specialist for Putnam County Emergency Management Agency.

The region was also battered by strong winds.

Top wind speed locally was 64 mph, recorded at U.S. 231 and State Road 236 in northern Putnam County. But that was nothing compared to 80-mph winds sustained in Montgomery County that blew over a tractor-trailer on Interstate 74 and downed approximately 30 trees at the Crawfordsville Country Club.

The county even got a little bit of hail.

Pea-size to dime-size hail fell locally, Edwards said, adding however, that just southwest of the county, hail of an inch or more in diameter fell in Clay County.

Overall damage in the county was minimal.

"Inside Putnam County, no major damage was reported," Edwards said, noting that other nearby areas were not so lucky.

Putnam residents kept their eyes on the skies Tuesday night, reporting a possible funnel cloud near Brick Chapel and a possible tornado in the vicinity of VanBibber Lake.

"The report of a funnel cloud at Brick Chapel has proved to be false at this time," Edwards told the Banner Graphic. "A possible tornado at VanBibber Lake has not been verified. There was no touchdown or damage recorded. But it very likely was a funnel cloud."

Straight-line winds were apparently the cause of the damage in neighboring Montgomery County, including the roof reportedly being blown off a discount store on the east side of Crawfordsville.

The National Weather Service has confirmed three tornadoes touched down in Indiana during Tuesday night's storms.

The strongest, an EF-2 tornado, touched down along County Road 100E near County Road 500S in Tippecanoe County. There was also straight-line wind damage northeast of Lafayette.

An EF-1 tornado hit just to the west of Thorntown, in Boone County. Officials said the twister was on the ground for about a half-mile. To the east of Thorntown, officials determined that damage to a barn near State Road 47 and U.S. 52 was caused by straight-line winds.

Meanwhile southern Indiana was not spared as a tornado damaged at least 20 mobile homes in Clark County. The weather service said the EF-1 tornado was 100 to 200 yards wide with wind speeds of 80 to 90 mph. It was on the ground for more than a mile north of Jeffersonville.

NWS said the tornado touched down in a mobile home park, where it damaged 20 to 25 homes, moving several off their foundations and damaging roofs.

The National Weather Service said some areas of central and southern Indiana received nearly five inches of rain in the storms. It says significant river flooding will occur later this week south of Interstate 70.

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