Funnel cloud prompts Putnam storm warning

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The whir of tornado sirens filled the air across Putnam County Monday evening following the report of a funnel cloud in Clay County.

Emergency Manage-ment Agency Director Kim Hyten said the central dispatch center received several phone calls from residents who wondered why the sirens had been set with no apparent signs of a storm in their neighborhoods.

Hyten explained that the sirens are generally activated when a funnel cloud or tornado is reported in an adjacent county to the west, even if there is not a storm in the immediate area.

"They went ahead and set them off due to the (tornado's) proximity," Hyten said of the sirens. "We'd rather go with caution than not set them off at all."

The need to sound the alarm arose Monday evening after a Clay County Sheriff's deputy reported a funnel cloud near Center Point and said it was moving toward Reelsville in southwest Putnam County.

Reelsville Fire Chief John McPherson heard the warning and he and a couple of other volunteer firefighters drove through the area after the storm but did not find any damage that they thought was caused by a tornado.

They did, however, cut and remove a tree and some limbs from U.S. 40 near Reelsville, Monday evening, he said.

On Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service in Indianapolis confirmed that a tornado did in fact touch down at around 6:30 p.m. Monday about 3 miles southwest of Center Point in Clay County.

The tornado was on the ground for several minutes and caused minor damage, the weather service reported.

"I was watching the clouds, you could kind of see them rolling," witness Tim Culver said in a report by the Associated Press. "Eventually you could see a field of debris pick up."

The Clay County EMA reported that the storm damaged numerous trees in a wooded area and three homes sustained minor damage. The EMA thought rooftops were damaged and a car port was lifted off the ground.

The weather service had not rated the scale of the tornado as of Tuesday morning.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: