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Region cleans up from violent Sunday storm

Sunday's thunderstorm uprooted large tree near St. Bridget's Catholic Church Hobart. The force took sectisidewalk with it. | Carole Carlson~Sun-Times

Sunday's thunderstorm uprooted a large tree near St. Bridget's Catholic Church in Hobart. The force took a section of the sidewalk with it. | Carole Carlson~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 14, 2014 6:17AM



Falling branches, flying shingles, downed power lines, flooded streets and hail damage — lots of hail damage — left residents across Northwest Indiana in cleanup mode on Monday.

At the height of Sunday’s storm, which roared through about 7 p.m. with powerful winds blowing rain and hail almost sideways, about 25,000 customers were out of power, NIPSCO spokeswoman Kathleen Szot said. By Monday afternoon, that number was down to about 5,000. All NIPSCO repair crews and some additional contractors were still out restoring power throughout the area, Szot said Monday afternoon.

“The widest damage was in Lake County, Gary, Hobart and Portage had the biggest pockets,” she said.

One Portage man who lives near County Road 700N and Swanson Road who asked to not be identified said his vinyl siding had holes from the hail on every west-facing surface of his two-story home.

Porter County police spokesman Sgt. Larry LaFlower said an officer was driving on N. Calumet Avenue in Center Township when a tree fell on his squad car. The officer was not injured, he said.

Liberty and Portage townships were the hardest hit in Porter County, LaFlower said. “A bunch of trees, poles and lines were down. Several roads in South Haven and on County Road 700 North were flooded, which contributed to cars driving off the road and being flooded,” he said. No injuries were reported because of the storm, he added.

Pounding rain, lightning and thunder flooded streets and Hole No. 11 at Duck Creek Golf Course in Portage. Debris from a downed barn on Airport Road in Portage blew across the road.

By noon Monday, the Northern Indiana Public Service Co. reported 4,446 power outages with the bulk — 1,297 in Portage and 1,164 in Hobart. Nativity of Our Savior Catholic School in Portage was closed Monday because it didn’t have power, according to it website.

A wind gust measured at 78 mph at the Gary/Chicago International Airport about 7:20 p.m. Sunday.

About 30 customers inside El Pueblo restaurant on U.S. 6 in Portage Sunday got a little more spice with their dinners as high winds sheared the roof off, planting it on a customer’s sport utility vehicle.

The roof, an old barn, dozens of trees, and utility poles became casualties of the sudden storm, fueled by high winds.

Manager Adalberto Munoz said the storm sheared off a utility pole just west of the restaurant about 7 p.m. and he thinks the flying pole took the metal roof off. The pole laid on the ground near an SUV that was covered by the roof.

Owner Arnulfo Marquez was on his way to the restaurant when the storm slowed him down. He’s not sure how long it will take to reopen. “It will be at least two to three weeks. They’ll renew everything,” he said of the restoration crew.

In Hobart, numerous trees and utility poles dotted neighborhoods. Hobart school bus drivers had to reroute in the morning with trees, like one that stretched across Lake Park Avenue near Hobart Middle School, triggered detours. A tree was uprooted just outside St. Bridget’s Catholic Church, taking a section of the sidewalk up with it.

Meanwhile, in Hammond, firefighters rescued family members from their SUV after it got stuck in rising floodwaters created by the torrential rain. Crews put the family into a raft and pulled them to higher ground.

On its website, NIPSCO reported that all available field employees were working Monday to assess damage and restore power to customers. NIPSCO also brought in additional contracted crews to assist with repairs.

Customers without power can report an outage from a smart phone or other mobile device, on a computer via the NIPSCO.com/OutageCenter or by calling NIPSCO Customer Service at 800-464-7726.

Contributing:
Post-tribune staff,
Sun-Times Media



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