Tornado touchdown confirmed near Peru
The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down Wednesday near Peru.
Investigators say an EF1 tornado with maximum winds estimated at 95 miles per hour hit the Miami County town around 1:30 p.m. Several buildings were damaged or destroyed in the afternoon storms.
The process of determining what caused all the damage was a tedious one. National Weather Service survey teams started early.
"Been going street to street, corner by corner, house by house, looking at which way the trees have fallen," said Michael Lewis with the National Weather Service.
There was never any doubt for Ken and Victoria Fournier. One look at their house and they knew it was a tornado.
"You can't even see the front door. That's our sidewalk," Victoria said.
The tornado was on the ground for more than three miles south of Peru.
Wind damage was reported across north central Indiana, with straight line winds estimated as high as 80 miles per hour.
The storms produced winds of up to about 70 mph across other parts of northern and north-central Indiana, causing thousands of power outages across the region.
The storms turned over cars in the Kroger and Aldi parking lots, and leaving a local hot dog stand a mangled mess. Parts of roofs were torn off homes, windows shattered and some buildings appeared to be a total loss.
"I praise my employees. They pulled everyone to safety," said Lori Dorman at Aldi.
Powerful storms uprooted large trees and destroyed or damaged homes and other buildings on the west side of town, including some homes on W. 2nd St. Investigators will search for a path of destruction and signs of rotation. Some damaged trees display signs of being twisted or sheared off. A trailer was lifted off its foundation.
In addition to large trees falling on homes, utility poles also came down. At one point there were over 20,000 homes without power.
Two people were injured in the storm. A 78-year-old woman was getting into her mini van at the Kroger parking lot when the storm hit, throwing her around inside the vehicle and giving her a concussion. A witness told Eyewitness News she had just taken her seat belt off and was getting ready to go into the store when strong winds began battering the van.
The woman was hospitalized and is being treated. Another person had a foot injury.