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Indiana storm damages high school, destroys homes

Severe storm that hit SW Indiana damages high school, destroys homes with winds up to 120 mph

BOONVILLE, Ind. — Southwestern Indiana residents were cleaning up today after a severe thunderstorm swept across the region with winds up to 120 mph, damaging a high school in the city of Boonville and leaving much of that city without power, officials said.

No injuries were reported following Friday evening’s storm, which the National Weather Service said unleashed straight-line winds.

About 125 students were in Boonville High School’s auditorium when the storm approached, prompting staff to usher the middle and high school students to safer areas like bathrooms as winds swept the school some 15 miles northeast of Evansville.

“We got them into restrooms, rooms without windows. (The students) were a little shaken up, but they were all safe,” Principal Mike Whitten told the Princeton Daily Clarion.

No one was injured, but Whitten said the storm damaged the roofs of several classrooms.

State Rep. Ron Bacon, R-Chandler, said Boonville officials were working on a declaration of emergency to have the Indiana Department of Transportation bring in additional crews to help remove storm debris from roadways.

Before the storm hit Boonville, it swept through Evansville, where three homes were destroyed and about 20 other homes and businesses were damaged, said Vanderburgh County Emergency Management Director Cliff Weaver.

“We have a lot of large trees down, a lot of power poles broken, a lot of wires and several roads are blocked,” he said Saturday afternoon.

Weaver said that immediately following the storm about 50,000 homes and businesses were without power in southwestern Indiana. By mid-afternoon Saturday, the regional utility, Vectren, reported that about 7,000 customers remained without power.

Lead forecaster Greg Meffert with the National Weather Service’s Paducah, Kentucky, office said a survey team found structural damage that was caused by 70 to 90 mph winds in southern Vanderburgh County, including some areas where the winds reached an estimated 120 mph.

The survey team had seen no evidence that a tornado hit the area.

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