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June 25, 2010

Storm damage

Strong winds rip off roof, cause widespread power outage

A storm that weakened before reaching Cass County Wednesday night still carried enough strength to rip off the roof of a business on Logansport’s south side and snap two utility poles north of town.

Haynes Automotive at 813 Burlington Ave. suffered the loss of most of its roof when the thunderstorm rolled through about 9:30 p.m.

Sheets of metal and lumber crashed into a utility pole near the business, knocking down another pole and knocking out power all the way to Deacon.

Owner Tom Haynes spent the first half of Thursday making vehicle repairs without computers or power tools.

“It’s like stepping back in time,” he said.

A Logansport Municipal Utilities crew restored power to the majority of its customers from Logansport to Deacon in an hour, but repairs to the area around Haynes Automotive took two crews about 15 hours.

“We stay out until everyone has their power again,” said LMU dispatcher Julie Truax. “When the repairs are made, then that’s when everyone gets to go home.”

Truax said LMU realized the inconvenience of the outages, but she said Mother Nature had utility crews working overtime as of late.

“The storms have just really been rough on us,” she said.

High winds apparently caused two utility poles on 150 North east of Logansport to break. Truax said no trees fell on the lines.

Emergency Management Agency director Alvin Beckman surveyed damage throughout Cass County. The storm knocked down multiple trees, some of which blocked county roads. A section of tree landed on the old Masonic Lodge next to the Twelve Mile post office but did not cause significant damage, he said.

The top wind speed recorded Wednesday night measured 42 mph at the EMA office on Ind. 17 north of Logansport. The gust came in well below the winds of more than 70 mph forecast for this area.

EMA staff made up sandbags as a precaution in case the forecast of up to three inches of rain on already saturated ground proved accurate. Beckman said fortunately they avoided the need for sandbags because less than a half inch of rain fell Wednesday night.

Northern Indiana received the brunt of the storm.

According to The Associated Press, the National Weather Service said two tornados hit a areas near Wakarusa and Goshen. A third tornado was reported in Warsaw.

Officials reported buildings damaged by wind and falling trees from Hammond to Fort Wayne. As of Thursday morning, some 40,000 homes and businesses were without power, with large outages in the South Bend, Goshen and LaPorte areas.

Haynes said rain poured into his business Wednesday night. He covered items such as computers and paperwork with sheets of plastic. He also had the unpleasant experience of telling a first-time customer about a car that was smashed by the falling roof.

Throughout the interruption to his 19-year-old business, Haynes maintained a positive attitude.

“If this is the worst thing that happens, I’ll be all right,” he said. “This is cake. This is something that can be fixed.”

• Kevin Lilly is news editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5117 or kevin.lilly@pharostribune.com.

 

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