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Severe Storms, Tornadoes Strike Ind.

September 21, 2002

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MONROE CITY, Ind. (AP) _ Severe thunderstorms and at least one tornado raked the Midwest on Friday, injuring people at an Ohio festival and damaging dozens of homes in Indiana.

Lights set up for a harvest festival in Crestline, Ohio, toppled in the wind and fell on a crowd. An 11-year-old girl was left in critical condition, a 64-year-old woman was in serious condition and eight others were treated at hospitals and released, police Chief Eric Condiff said.

There were many reports of injuries in Indiana, but all of them were minor, said Alden Taylor, a spokesman for the State Emergency Management Agency.

The National Weather Service had confirmed just one eyewitness account of a twister touching down, agency meteorologist John Ogren said, though he added that he expected more to be confirmed after teams survey damage Saturday.

The storm dumped about 5 inches of rain in a nearly 100-mile stretch from Vincennes to Indianapolis. The Indiana National Guard planned to send two helicopters out Saturday morning to survey the damage.

Several transmission towers were destroyed, and about 80,000 electricity customers were without power.

``It’s been several years since we have had widespread damage in the state like this,″ Taylor said.

Areas of Ohio reported tree limbs, power lines and barns knocked down.

A tornado witnesses reported seeing near Monroe City, about 100 miles southwest of Indianapolis, damaged 12 to 15 homes and destroyed some of them, said Steve Dillon, director of Knox county emergency management.

Weather forecasters issued several tornado warnings Friday, including one in southwestern Pike County that Lori Dedrick heard while she was shopping. She rushed to her parents’ home to wait out the storm in the basement with her parents.

``Within five minutes, our ears started popping″ because of the tornado, Dedrick said.

The storm tore off the deck of the house and a neighbor’s roof, Dedrick said.

Ten to 12 houses were destroyed and an apartment complex was damaged in Ellettsville 50 miles south of Indianapolis, Taylor said. Emergency officials received reports that 15 trailer homes and a county garage were destroyed in Posey County in southwest Indiana, he added.

Strong winds also destroyed homes and a church in Indianapolis, tore off part of the roof of an Indianapolis YMCA and flipped at least 40 cars in a mall parking lot in Greenwood, just south of the capital.

``It sucked all the pressure out of the building. The doors flew open. We had to fight our way back,″ said Brian Daley, who was working out at the YMCA when the storm hit.

Update hourly