2 killed in Indiana storms that spawned tornado

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(WISH Photo, file/Marcus Collins)

WINONA LAKE, Ind. (AP) — Two people died after trees fell on homes as severe storms swept through Indiana early Tuesday, leaving thousands of customers without electricity and forcing some schools to cancel summer classes.

An EF-1 tornado with winds estimated at 95 mph touched down just west of the town of LaGrange about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and traveled for about a mile, uprooting and snapping trees and causing minor damage to homes, the National Weather Service said

The tornado was part of a mile-wide swath of intense damaging winds of 70-80 mph, the weather service said.

Larry Davisson, 64, of Wolcottville died of blunt force trauma after a tree fell about 2 a.m. Tuesday on his home at Big Long Lake, about 35 miles north of Fort Wayne, LaGrange County Coroner Jeff Helmuth said.

The mile-wide swath that struck LaGrange traveled north of the lake.

Kosciusko County Coroner Michael Wilson said 14-year-old Daniel Holbrook died in Winona Lake. The Winona Lake Police Department reports he was killed when a large tree fell on part of a mobile home in that town about 40 miles northwest of Fort Wayne about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday. One other person at the home suffered minor injuries and two others were not hurt.

Utility crews worked Tuesday to restore power to homes and businesses across northern and central Indiana that lost power. At the height of the outages, more than 153,000 were without power. Northern Indiana Public Service Co. said it will take several days to restore power to some areas because of the extensive damage, including more than 100 broken distribution poles.

Indiana University South Bend, Purdue University College of Technology at South Bend and Ivy Tech Northeast in Fort Wayne were closed because of power outages. Some school districts also canceled summer classes because of the outages.

The South Bend Tribune reported Potawatomi Park, and Potawatomi Zoo were expected to remain closed until at least Wednesday as crews worked to clear numerous downed trees from the area.

U.S. 30 westbound in Merrillville was closed for more than seven hours Tuesday because traffic signals that fell into the intersection, The Times of Munster reported.

Lightning struck the Porter County sheriff’s department, damaging computers that serve the county’s central dispatch system and the jail, Sgt. Larry LaFlower, the department’s public information officer, told the Post-Tribune of Merrillville.a.m. Tuesday.

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