At least 13 killed in southern Indiana tornadoes

Picture courtesy WAVE-TV

Authorities in Indiana say at least 13 people have been killed in violent storms that spawned tornadoes across a wide swath of southern Indiana.

Indiana State Police Master Trooper Rick Stockdale says four people were killed in the Chelsea area in Jefferson County. Stockdale says a man, woman and their 4-year-old grandchild died in one house, and another man was killed in his home a short distance away.

Adams adds the death toll could rise once search and rescue crews begin to comb through the town in daylight.

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Authorities at the state's Joint Information Center said three people were killed in Scott County and four people died in Washington County.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Noel Houze Jr. says two people also were killed in Ripley County to the northeast. He says two other people there have life-threatening injuries.

Eyewitness News confirmed at least one of the deaths reported in Ripley County happened in the town of Holton.

Photos of Holton storm damage (Courtesy WLWT-TV)

Maj. Chuck Adams of the Clark County Sheriff's Department told the Associated Press late Friday that one person had died in Henryville, however the Department of Homeland Security did not confirm that death.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Department dispatcher Shelly Jones says houses are missing near the unincorporated town of Chelsea, about 30 miles north of Louisville, Ky.

Tornadoes have left widespread damage in southern Indiana and a sheriff's official says at least one town of about 1,900 people is "completely gone."

National Weather Service coordinator Bill Whitlock there's "extreme damage" in the area of Henryville, a town of about 3,000 people just north of the Kentucky border. Destruction can be seen for miles.

Clark County Sheriff's Department Maj. Chuck Adams says the nearby town of Marysville is "completely gone."

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed to Eyewitness News that Henryville High School was struck by a tornado. A school district spokeswoman says heavy damage has been reported at the high school.

WAVE-TV in Louisville reported Friday that tornado was up to a half-mile wide. A second tornado was also reported to be heading towards that area at 3:32 pm.

Medical crews with the department are en route to Clark County to assist local officials.

Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman John Erickson says there are injuries but no immediate reports of fatalities. However, WAVE-TV is also reporting that the Jefferson County coroner is investigating two possible deaths in the town of Chelsea. A four-year-old child was reported missing. See WAVE's story.

Officials say they've had difficulty confirming reports due to downed power and telephone lines.

Gov. Daniels statement

Governor Mitch Daniels issued the following statement about Friday's storms:

"Once again Mother Nature has dealt harshly with Indiana. Our every thought is with those we've lost and those who have suffered. We've learned so much and improved so much in disaster preparedness, warning systems and responder communications but still we are no match for Mother Nature at her worst. We're hopeful that we know the full extent of the damage but it will be tomorrow before we can give a final report with any confidence."

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