Late-season severe weather outbreak, tornadoes hit Indiana and Ohio

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Late-season severe storms accompanied by strong winds, lightning, and several tornadoes rolled through parts of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania on Sunday, November 5, 2017, causing widespread damage. The worst affected were Indiana and Ohio. At least 2 people have lost their lives and 8 were injured. More than 100 000 customers were without power Sunday night.

“Despite it being early November, a second season of severe weather is typical in the fall as progressively colder air battles with lingering warmth,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said. “That is exactly what we saw in the Ohio Valley to end the weekend.”

The Mercer County, Ohio Emergency Management Director confirmed to the National Weather Service eight people were injured after a tornado ripped through the business district of the town of Celina, causing damage to many properties and some 100 vehicles. NWS gave the tornado a preliminary rating of EF-1 which has wind speeds of 140 – 177 km/h (86 – 110 mph). The tornado hit around 19:40 UTC and was approximately 180 m (200 yards) wide. A final rating will be announced early this week as storm survey crews thoroughly assess the damage of this tornado.

Celina Police officers posted at the edge of town said they saw a funnel cloud headed toward the city and the storm hit the city soon after. Mayor Jeff Hazel declared a state of emergency to free up resources from the State of Ohio. EMA Director Mike Robbins said six people were hurt at a restaurant and one person was hurt at a business. One other person was injured in a car crash after a power pole fell to the ground. Robbins said the injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Video courtesy Live Storms Media

Video courtesy Live Storms Media

A possible tornado ripped through downtown Muncie, Indiana, damaging a historic Muncie Fieldhouse gym with an apparent gaping hole in the west side of the building. 

“A lot of devastation on the west end of the roof and sprinkler system water line is also broke open and sending thousands of gallons of water a minute in there,” Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler told The Star Press.

The Fieldhouse was not the only structure impacted by the severe weather that ripped through the area Sunday afternoon, especially near downtown.

“We have major wind and storm damage over in the McKinley Neighborhood as far over as the Dailey Apartments along Bunch Boulevard in the Whitely area. Probably millions of dollars of worth of damage right now the way we’re looking at it,” Tyler said.

Muncie Community Schools announced via Twitter Sunday night that classes were canceled Monday for grades K-8, and Central students would have an e-learning day.

Numerous trees, limbs and utility lines were down around and near the Fieldhouse, on the north end of downtown Muncie, and in the McKinley neighborhood to its east. City Hall was opened as a shelter for anyone who needed it.

The region received between 25.4 and 76.2 mm (1 and 3 inches) of rain, with locally higher amounts, triggering localized, flooding, water rescues and road closures. Two people died in Erie County, Pennsylvania when flooding triggered a house collapse Sunday night.

Video courtesy Live Storms Media

Video courtesy Live Storms Media

NWS received a total of 9 tornado reports on November 5; five from Indiana, three from Ohio and one from Illinois.

More than 100 000 customers in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania were without power Sunday night. As of early Monday morning, November 6, more than 81 000 were still without power. 57 850 in Ohio, 17 805 in Indiana and 5 531 in Pennsylvania.

Featured image: Portland, Indiana tornado – November 5, 2017. Credit: Live Storms Media

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