Several storms moved throughout central Indiana Friday night and early Saturday morning, bringing torrential rainfall, strong winds and significant tornado activity.
The National Weather Service confirmed Saturday afternoon that at least seven tornadoes touched down overnight across central Indiana. The severe weather destroyed several homes and left thousands of Hoosiers without power across the state.
Survey teams with the NWS are still out surveying different locations across Indiana. In addition to tornadoes touching down in Sullivan and Johnson counties, four other tornados were confirmed in Howard and Clinton counties.
Clinton County recorded an EF1 tornado featuring peak winds of 110 miles per hour. Howard County witnessed two EF0 tornadoes with maximum winds of 80 miles per hour and one EF1 tornado with peak winds of 110 miles per hour.
Reports of the damage came in from across Indiana, including areas in Boone, Clinton, Howard, Madison, Morgan, Shelby and Tippecanoe counties.
Reported damage includes downed power lines, downed trees and overturned semis and damaged vehicles.
Gov. Holcomb visited the city of Sullivan Saturday afternoon to assess the extent of the damage and hold a press conference. The governor also signed an Executive Order declaring a disaster emergency for Sullivan and Johnson counties as the efforts to recover from these natural disasters get underway.
First responders found the bodies of a couple who were camping at McCormick’s Creek State Park when severe storms rolled through the area overnight Friday.
Brett Kincaid, 53, and Wendy Kincaid, 47, both from Rossville, Indiana, were found dead Saturday. Their deaths bring the total number of fatalities from Friday’s storm to five.
Authorities say the couple was camping at McCormick’s Creek State Park when storms ripped through, causing severe damage to the area.
First responders began their search early Saturday for confirmation that everyone made it to safety.
They launched additional searches around the property, which led to the couple’s bodies being found.
Indiana DNR said the incident is under investigation.
Sullivan County is in a state of emergency as Indiana State Police confirmed that at least three people died during the intense storms and tornadoes that rolled through the county Friday night and early Saturday morning.
Out of the seven confirmed tornados to land in Indiana, the strongest tornado was recorded in Sullivan County where an EF3 tornado with maximum winds of 155 miles per hour barreled through the county.
Nearly 200 structures have been damaged or destroyed in the county, with 150 of those being within the city limits, according to Mayor Clint Lamb. Emergency crews are continuing to provide assistance to families in need.
The town of Whiteland sustained significant damage throughout Friday evening and Saturday morning, according to the Whiteland Police Department.
Travel and communication were made very difficult due to the presence of downed power lines and trees, and debris preventing travelers from crossing local roads.
Johnson County also saw two tornadoes, with an EF2 tornado striking Whiteland with maximum winds of 135 miles per hour and an EF0 tornado landing to the south of Bargersville with maximum winds of 85 miles per hour.
Whiteland Police said in a Facebook post that anyone in need is encouraged to visit a relief shelter that has been set up at Greenwood Middle School where food and shelter will be available.
Personal goods, water, snacks and other donated items can also be found at the New Whiteland Fire Department located at 500 Sweetbriar Ave.
The Whiteland Fire Department confirmed in a Facebook post that the severe weather caused damage to its fire station.
“Our station has sustained damage that will prevent us from working out of it in the near future but we want to thank New Whiteland Fire Department for giving us a place to stay,” reads a portion of the post. “We are still in service and here for our community if you need us.”
The city of Martinsville and other parts of Morgan County also experienced damaging winds while the storms passed through the area. The severe weather ripped the roofing off of apartment buildings and led to tree damage throughout the city.
The Martinsville Fire Department confirmed that it responded to a total of 46 incidents, including more than 12 instances of structural damage.
“Over 50 families have been displaced and are working with the American Red Cross. At the current time there have been no injuries reported,” reads a portion of the Martinsville Fire Department’s Facebook post.
City officials say around 100 homes and businesses experienced severe roof damage throughout the Friday night storm.