Eye witness recalls Thursday’s EF1 Tornado

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The National Weather Service in Indianapolis confirmed a tornado touched down on Lafayette’s south side Thursday afternoon.

Around 4:40 p.m. Thursday, an EF1 tornado did touch down around Veterans Memorial parkway on Lafayette’s south side. Wabash National’s trailer lot received damage with overturned semitrailers and a destroyed guard shack.

WISH-TV’s sister station WLFI spoke with the Tippecanoe County Emergency Management about Thursday’s tornado; as well as one eye witness who says although it happened quickly, it’s something he will never forget.

“There was some real interesting clouds. I mean, they were going all different directions. So you knew something was going on,” said resident Scott Campbell, who witnessed Thursday’s tornado.

Campbell, an employee of Subaru of Indiana Automotive, was leaving work Thursday afternoon when he says he noticed what looked like a funnel cloud.

As he was stuck behind a long line of cars, he said the wind began to pick up.

“It went from almost nothing to probably 40 miles an hour,” Campbell said.

He said in a matter of seconds, the wind stopped and the funnel cloud disappeared. What he didn’t know was the damage it left behind just a few miles away.

“There were two overturned semis, trailers and a car that was overturned, and I couldn’t believe it,” Tippecanoe County Emergency Management Director Smokey Anderson said.

That is the damage Anderson discovered at Wabash National Friday morning. However, he said nothing on the radar indicated a tornado.

But due to the amount of damage, he sent surveillance footage to the National Weather Service in Indianapolis to be analyzed.

“They compared that to the radar loop from yesterday at that same moment in time, and they confirmed that it was an EF1 tornado,” Anderson said.

Anderson says with no warning, the tornado touched down for about 50 yards. He said it’s an important reminder to always be prepared for severe weather.

Campbell said with no where to go at the time of the tornado, he feels lucky the twister didn’t last any longer.

“Seeing what it did at Wabash, had it touched down in the parking lot, it could have been pretty messy,” said Campbell.

The NWS said based on the surveillance video, the tornado’s wind speeds were estimated at about 100 miles per hour.

Luckily, no one was injured.

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