The line of severe thunderstorms which ripped through southern Indiana Wednesday had not weakened by the time they reached Columbus and Greensburg.
Drivers in Columbus got their first taste of the storm in the form of hailstones. Matt Gordon watched the ominous storm pass through Columbus.
“It just kind of goes that way and I saw the outer edges of something head on down the road and then it was that really creepy dead calm that you get when something’s about to happen or just did happen,” Gordon said.
Torrential rain, high winds and golf ball sized hail soon arrived in Greensburg damaging cars, tearing roofs off houses and in some cases demolishing entire structures. Nick Ooley of Platinum Exteriors was there with a crew to tarp roofs on houses in the Rolling Meadows housing district.
“We should be able to tarp this roof in about 20 minutes and board up the house so it should take us about a half hour or 45 minutes to totally protect the house from upcoming storms,” Ooley said.
“We did three other ones so far tonight and I’ve still got about six to do. I’ll probably see the door of my house at about 3:30 or 4 am.”
Some folks in Rolling Meadows took shelter at the nearby Holiday Inn where the Red Cross was on scene to provide rooms for families with damaged homes. Tornado sirens signaled a second wave of storms. A storm survey team with the National Weather service later confirmed a high end EF-1 tornado, with maximum winds of 100-105 mph, impacted the southwest side of Greensburg.
In Bedford, the storm survey team determined an EF-2 tornado damaged or destroyed several buildings in a 7 mile long swath up to a quarter mile wide.
Vicki Lee captured incredible video of the funnel cloud passing only 150 yards away from her property. Her house survived, but her neighbors weren’t so lucky.
“You could just see it forming and then see the debris start flying so I knew it was hitting something. I knew it was hitting a house,” Lee said.
Bedford police confirmed at least a dozen people were hospitalized, including three children. For now, the storms have passed and people in southern Indiana can begin to take stock of what they’ve lost.