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Storm blows off some roofs, takes out electrical power in northern Indiana

Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 11:15 am

The roofs were blown off some buildings and major electric utilities reported a high of 16,000 outages Thursday morning in northern Indiana as a storm with winds sometimes topping 60 mph swept through the state.

The National Weather Service says Wednesday night's storm caused scattered building, tree and power line damage, including reports near the cities of Wabash and Rochester.

Locally, 433 customers of Indiana Michigan Power in Allen County were without electrical power as of 8:50 Thursday morning, according to Erica Putt, a communications representative from the utility. Putt said in an e-mail that the utility estimates power restoration could be completed by 10 p.m.

Information released earlier by the utility indicate as many as 14,151 customers had been without power as of 5:15 a.m., 712 in Allen County.

Frank Suarez, a public information officer with City Utilities, said Thursday morning that workers had taken advantage of the fact that weather forecasts had warned of significant rainfall to have pumps deployed by Wednesday afternoon.

Suarez said that six of 13 pumps were still operating but that high waters had receded fairly quickly. He also said that a section of Auburn Road that had been closed due to high water was now open and that to his knowledge, no other streets were impassable.

With a slight chance of rain forecast for Thursday, as well, Suarez issued a request for city residents.

"With a storm like this, it's always a good idea to check the storm drains because the moving waters can sometimes see those get clogged," Suarez said. "We do go out and check those, and will continue to do so, but it is helpful if residents can do that, as well."

The Fort Wayne area received 1.33 inches, as measured at Fort Wayne International Airport, according to the National Weather Service's office in Syracuse. As much as 2 inches of rain were measured in surrounding parts of Allen County, the weather service said.

WNDU-TV reports the roof was ripped from an electronics manufacturing company building in Mishawaka, with the building owner saying much of its machinery has significant water damage. The Times of Munster reports a home at Lakes of the Four Seasons in Lake County lost its roof, but no one was injured.

Weather service meteorologist Nathan Marsili says all the northern Indiana damage appears to be from straight-line winds.

Golf ball-size hail hit from Gary to Fort Wayne. The National Weather Service says about 3 inches of rain fell in Marion.

Northern Indiana Public Service Co. had about 44,000 outages after the storm hit. Most of those were in northwestern Indiana's Lake County, where some 4,000 outages remained around Crown Point alone early Thursday.