The Latest: Pence to tour tornado-stricken areas Thursday

AP News
|
Posted: Aug 24, 2016 9:23 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on tornadoes touching down in central Indiana (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he'll tour Howard and Montgomery counties and possibly other areas Thursday to assess the storm damage.

The Republican vice presidential candidate returned to Indiana from the campaign trail Wednesday evening after the National Weather Service said several tornadoes struck the state. One that hit Kokomo has been determined to be an EF3 with 165 mph winds.

Pence says he'll remain in the state as long as necessary to ensure people affected by the storms have the support they need. He says 200 people have checked in to a Red Cross shelter in Kokomo.

Indiana State Police spokesman Capt. David Bursten says about a dozen people were injured, but none seriously.

___

8:25 p.m.

Indiana State Police spokesman Capt. David Bursten says about a dozen people were injured, none seriously, as tornadoes moved through central portions of the state.

Most of those injuries were in Howard County and included one resident who was trapped in a home by one of the storms that struck Wednesday.

Bursten says those injured included a 5-month-old child who suffered a laceration in Montgomery County. He attributes the relatively small number of injuries reported by 8 p.m. to residents' taking the approaching storms seriously.

He says, "We were very, very fortunate, and you have to credit the advance warnings and people heeding those warnings."

___

7:35 p.m.

Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence is turning his attention from campaigning to his home state of Indiana after tornadoes struck the state.

Pence, who is Indiana's governor, was campaigning in North Carolina on Wednesday when multiple tornadoes touched down in central Indiana. Initial reports describe a large tornado moving across the Howard County city of Kokomo and damaging apartment buildings and automobiles and cutting power.

In a tweet, Pence says he is returning to Indiana and asks, "Please keep Hoosiers in your prayers."

___

7:25 p.m.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight says there were no serious injuries reported from the tornadoes that hit the area.

The mayor was speaking at a press conference shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Howard County authorities say eight funnel clouds were spotted in the area.

Goodnight says there was "substantial damage to property — a lot of trees are down."

Officials have declared a state of emergency for the city and county. All roads are closed except for emergency vehicles performing essential functions until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

___

7:10 p.m.

Officials have declared a joint state of emergency for central Indiana's Howard County and its county seat of Kokomo.

The declaration stated that all roads in the city and county are closed except for emergency vehicles performing essential functions until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Utility companies reported more than 39,000 customers were without power Wednesday evening. Duke Energy said more than 25,000 customers lost electricity in Howard County alone.

___

5:30 p.m.

A maintenance worker at a central Indiana apartment complex says half of the buildings don't have roofs following tornadoes that hit the area.

Mitchell Carlson is a maintenance technician at the Park Place Apartments on the west side of Kokomo, a city about 40 miles north of Indianapolis.

He says the complex has 16 buildings, and "probably eight of them don't have a roof."

He says "it's a madhouse," but that there haven't been any reported injuries. He also estimated that 20 to 30 vehicles had been damaged by falling tree limbs and air conditioners.

Indiana University Kokomo has canceled all campus events due to the severe weather. In Avon, a city near Indianapolis, school officials cited the severe weather in ordering all buses to return to the nearest school amid the storms.

___

4:50 p.m.

Authorities say thousands of homes and businesses are without power in central Indiana after at least two tornadoes moved through the region.

Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman John Erickson says the agency is monitoring damage from a tornado Wednesday afternoon in Kokomo, a city about 40 miles north of Indianapolis.

He says the agency has received no reports of injuries or deaths from that storm. But he says the storm has cut power to about 12,000 homes and businesses in Howard County.

Erickson says the agency is also assessing whether a reported tornado touchdown in eastern Indianapolis caused any damage. He urged residents to remain in a safe place until the storm passes in areas where tornado warnings have been issued.

___

4 p.m.

The National Weather Service is reporting that at least two tornadoes have struck central and north central Indiana.

The weather service issued a tornado warning saying a "confirmed large and destructive tornado" was spotted about 10 miles east of Kokomo, or about 40 miles north of Indianapolis

Meteorologist Dave Tucek says a tornado moved from the southwest side of Kokomo to the east-central side of that city. He says there are reports of damage but he had no specifics.

Local television station WTHR showed images of downed trees and a damaged Starbucks in the area.

The weather service also says Indiana State Police observed a tornado northwest of the Montgomery County town of New Ross, or about 35 miles northwest of Indianapolis, and moving east.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.