By Tara Layne
NAPPANEE, Ind. — A tornado touchdown that was first reported about a mile south of Nappanee on Ind. 19 Thursday night has resulted in extensive damage to the city.
The fast-moving storm swept across the southeast side of Nappanee and headed toward New Paris, according to officials with the National Weather Service.
The weather service received the first report of the touchdown at 10:18 p.m., said meteorologist Michael Sabones.
“It was moving so fast. It covered a lot of ground in a short period of time,” Sabones said.
Several businesses in the Nappanee area were destroyed or heavily damaged. Restaurants in Nappanee, including Dairy Queen and Taco Bell/KFC, were among the businesses hit hard by the storm. Fairmont Homes Inc., also sustained heavy damage.
According to Nappanee police, no serious injuries or fatalities were reported.
About 1,600 Northern Indiana Public Service Co. customers were still without power this morning, down from approximately 4,000 last night.
“There are still a lot poles and wires down,” Michael Charbonneau, communications and public affairs manager for NIPSCO, said this morning.
He said many trees are also down and are obstructing the roads, which has made it difficult for NIPSCO workers to make the needed repairs to restore power to homes.
Charbonneau said that anyone who sees a downed wire should treat it like it is live.
In Kosciusko County, the Sheriff’s Department has advised people to stay away from the northeastern portion of the county. If motorists are caught going around barricades they will be cited, according to police.
Several roads in the county have been closed. These roads include Hepton Road from Ind. 19 to 1000 West; 1100 North from 1000 West to the Marshall County line; 1350 North from Ind. 19 and 1000 West; and 1200 North between 900 North and 1000 North.
In Elkhart County, U.S. 6 is closed from Ind. 15 to C.R. 3 (Kosciusko C.R. 950 West) and Ind. 19 is closed from Hepton Road (Kosciusko County) to C.R. 46 in Elkhart County.