Storms leave thousands without power in Northwest Indiana
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent July 1, 2014 12:04AM
The second round of storms that tore through Northwest Indiana produced 86 mile-an-hour winds and many power outages, officials said.
Northern Indiana Public Service Co. listed 42,734 outages as of 11:30 p.m. Monday night, with “the numbers continuing to rise,” NIPSCO Spokesperson Nick Meyer said. The utility anticipated earlier in the day there was going to be issues and dispatched additional service crews and customer service representatives to help.
“We’re right in the thick of it now,” Meyer said Monday night. “All we can tell people right now is to continue reporting outages and to stay away from any downed tree limbs or power lines. People tend to think they’re not live, but always assume they are.”
The City of Hammond was hit the hardest, with 7,878 structures without power; followed by Gary with 6, 187 and Crown Point with 4,086. Lowell, Merrillville, Valparaiso and Whiting also experienced significant outages, according to the website
National Weather Service Chicago Forecast Office Meteorologist Mark Ratzer said he couldn’t confirm there was an actual tornado touchdown. There were, however, 86 mile-an-hour winds and circular cloud movement in the area.
“We issued a tornado warning for parts of Jasper and Porter Counties at 10:56 p.m.,” Ratzer said. “Generally, if there’s significant damage, we’ll send people out to investigate, and if things are patterned in a rotation versus a flat-line, we can pretty much tell what happened.”
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office had no tornado reports but many reports of water and power outages. And the town of Griffith reported no major flooding but several downed trees and many downed branches.
“Our engineers will do an assessment in the morning to evaluate how well the new porous alleys controlled the stormwater,” Griffith Town Council President Rick Ryfa said.