National Weather Service surveys Tippecanoe Co. storm damage

Crews continue to clean up damage from last night's powerful storm. That's as the National Weather Service is working to determine if a tornado came through the area.

Posted: Apr 4, 2018 4:57 PM
Updated: Apr 4, 2018 6:37 PM

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) — Crews continue to clean up damage from last night's powerful storm. That's as the National Weather Service is working to determine if a tornado came through the area.

Downed trees are probably the most commonly seen damage. There were a few reports of structural damage, including a barn on 900 East.

NWS said, from the looks of it, straight-line winds are to blame.

Regardless of the type of storm, some people in the storm's path say it was a scary situation.

"We heard lots of branches hit our house and the skylights," said Judy Harshman. "I thought, 'Oh the skylights are going to go.'"

Harshman watched as the storm approached her home on the east side of Lafayette Tuesday evening.

"I just kept thinking, 'It's going to go over. It's going to go by, but it didn't,'" she said.

Harshman is one of several homeowners with downed trees in their yard.

Jeri Bowman is another.

"We don't usually have much because of the hills around here," said Bowman. "So for this to happen around here is kind of uncommon."

Now the National Weather Service is trying to figure out if a tornado is the cause.

"There are some indications, a few things that we've seen, that makes us think a quick, small tornado potentially dropped down here
along with the strong, straight-line winds," said NWS Meteorologist Marc Dahmer.

Dahmer said it's usually pretty easy to determine between a tornado and straight-line winds.

" When it comes to straight-line, damage is all laying in one direction," Dahmer said. "For a tornado, we're looking a more convergent type pattern. Things were thrown a little more chaotic than necessarily in a straight line."

Tornado or not, Harshman said the situation has left her feeling thankful.

"Luckily the house didn't get damaged, and we're fine," said Harshman. "But it was scary."

NWS meteorologists in Indianapolis started looking Wednesday afternoon.

They're taking their data back to Indianapolis for a closer look, and then they'll determine whether a tornado actually came through the county.

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