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High winds Friday derail train, knock down trees, cause power outages in central Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 19, 2016) – The warmer weather Friday did not come without some serious issues. Gusty winds brought down limbs, trees, and power lines, knocking out electricity to thousands and creating a potentially dangerous situation when those lines blew down.

Late Friday afternoon a CSX train derailed in downtown Indianapolis. No materials spilled out, and nobody was hurt, but IFD said strong winds were likely to blame.

Pictures submitted by FOX59 viewers show trees down across the area. One from Fishers shows a tree knocked down in the middle of the road. Another shows a tree down in a yard on the city’s south side, on Sherman Drive between Stop 11 and Southport Roads.

“The wind tends to blow tree limbs and sometimes even trees into power lines, which causes outages,” said Lew Middleton, with Duke Energy, “A wind forty to fifty miles per hour can really blow those around and cause damage that you just can’t predict.”

Middleton said Duke Energy crews were busy Friday with at one time five to six thousand outages in their 69-county Indiana service area.

Power lines were blown down in Carmel at 146th and Oak Streets.

Middleton said the winds were so strong that workers had to use extreme caution for their own safety to fix the lines.

“Since it is so windy, it makes it tough for crews to get out there and make repairs as quickly as they would like to,” said Middleton.

The warm weather wasn’t all bad though. Indy’s Department of Public Works (DPW) used the chance Friday to patch potholes made worse by the winter.

DPW said they have fewer open requests than usual for this time of year, attributed to a lack of snow.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett tweeted that DPW forestry would be on call overnight to handle any tree emergencies caused by high winds.