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Peru residents, businesses cleaning up after EF-1 tornado

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Crews worked overnight to bring power back to Peru, Ind., residents who said they expected strong storms but not an EF-1 tornado. The severe weather knocked down power lines and trees that destroyed several homes and damaged businesses.

“I heard a big boom, and there was plaster that went all over my bedroom,” said Kristie Wingard, a Peru mother who said a branch broke through her bedroom wall.

Countless trees were uprooted and both businesses and homes were severely damaged.

“That glass blew out, but the other window, it blew in,” said Lucille Robertson, another homeowner.

The National Weather Service staff said the storm was developing as it moved into the southern part of Peru and moved south. The warning to the public came approximately 20 minutes before the worst of the storm caused the most damage.

“Average lead time is around 15 minutes or later, so we strive to get as much time as we can,” said Courtney Obergfell, a representative with the National Weather Service.

Still, local officials admit they were caught off guard.

“One popped up and gathered steam, and we got very little warning from NWS. It caught them off guard I’m assuming, after speaking with them,” said Kristopher Marks, Miami County EMA Director.

“They issued a severe thunderstorm warning, but within two minutes, it had come through, gone, and we’re dealing with all the problems it caused.”

“It scared the heck out of all of us. We had three kids in the house when it happened,” said Wingard.

The cleanup is expected to take weeks and several homes will have to be leveled.