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POWERFUL STORM: Intense system with 90 mph winds buffet area

June 29, 2012

COLUMBIA CITY – Storms with hail and winds of up 91 mph moved through northern Indiana on Friday afternoon, leaving thousands of businesses and homes without power.

In Columbia City, the powerful winds toppled trees on the Courthouse Square and made a shambles of tents and carnival attractions along the downtown midway for its annual Old Settlers Days celebration.

Trees, branches and power lines were torn down by the gusty system that struck about 2:30 p.m. Crews were busy throughout Whitley County assessing and repairing the damage.

There were reports of damaged outbuildings and trees falling on buildings throughout Whitley County. Lawn furniture and other outdoor items were blown hundreds of feet from their homes.

With the storm came a downpour of about a half an inch.

Lightning was severe for a while and may have caused at least one structure fire.

The National Weather Service reported the top 40 feet of a 100-foot radio tower was blown down in Whitley County.

A 91-mph wind gust was measured at Fort Wayne International Airport shortly before 3 p.m.

The weather service says hail was reported in Crown Point, Highland and Chesterton in northwest Indiana. The Times of Munster reports high winds toppled trees in Valparaiso. Valparaiso Police Sgt. Mike Grennes says a woman sustained minor injuries when a tree fell on her car.

WSBT-TV reports a large tree limb fell on an ice cream van in Elkhart and the driver was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

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