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[IDHS] State of Indiana: Tornado Damage Status Update: 3/4 at 5:30 PM
Start Date: 3/5/2012
End Date: 3/5/2012
Entry Description

State of Indiana: Tornado Damage Status Update: 3/4 at 5:30 PM

March 4, 2012, 1725 eastern

State of Indiana Response to Tornado Activity in Southeastern Indiana

STATUS UPDATE

On March 2, 2012, tornadoes struck the southeastern part of the State of Indiana.

Activities in affected areas of the state are shifting to recovery mode, with efforts focused on restoring utilities and roadways, cleanup efforts, and assisting Hoosiers with specific needs.

Additional Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel have arrived on site and are working with State counterparts to gather damage statistics and estimates, support State response efforts, and provide staffing resources as required.

Preliminary results from National Weather Service storm survey teams:

-Two separate super cell thunderstorms were tracked over southern Indiana and into Kentucky with each producing a tornado along their path.
-Between the towns of Pekin and Henryville, the storms followed essentially the same path and were separated by approximately 10 minutes.
-The first storm was the more powerful of the two, producing an EF-4 tornado which damaged homes and a large junior-senior high school in Henryville.
-Further EF-4 damage was found near Chelsea in Jefferson County.
-Near Pekin (Washington County), EF-3 damage was found.
-EF-2 tornado preliminarily identified in Posey County
-EF-3 tornado preliminarily identified in Ripley County.

Again, these findings are preliminary and are complicated by the long distances and overlapping tracks the storms and tornadoes traveled. More details are expected to follow.

24-Hour Weather Forecast from National Weather Service: A winter weather advisory is in effect from 7 p.m. tonight until 7 a.m. Monday. An Alberta clipper will spread light rain or a rain-snow mix across Southern Indiana this evening. Snow will develop late this evening. Expect accumulations from one inch to three inches before the snow ends around dawn on Monday. Chance of precipitation 100 percent, with winds up to 11 mph.

Wireless Emergency Communications Centers: Several private companies are supporting communications in the affected areas by providing Internet, power and cell phone services for area residents:

The Sprint-Nextel COW (Cellular on Wheels) is located in the parking lot at 301 S. Ferguson Street, Henryville. The actual GPS location is N 38-32.325 and W 085-46.073.

A Duracell Batteries truck will begin operations at 8 a.m. Monday morning at the Methodist Church in Henryville. The vehicle offers batteries, a means of charging cell phones and computers, free WiFi, some computers for accessing email, and satellite TV for relaxation.

Verizon is deploying a wireless emergency communications center that will allow citizens to charge their cell phones, have use of phones to make calls and access the Internet to obtain emails. It is expected to be available in 24 hours.

Tetanus Shot Clinic: The Washington County Health Department (806 Martinsburg Road, suite 100; Salem) will offer free tetanus shots on Monday, March 5, 2012, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Anyone uncertain about his/her need for a tetanus shot is asked to call 812-883-5603 in advance.

Power Outages: The number of customers without power is 2,668.

Water System Inspections: Indiana Department of Environmental Management teams will be in the affected areas inspecting public water systems. Henryville’s water system is under a DO NOT DRINK advisory.

Damage Reports: Current count of homes reported as damaged: 98. Destroyed, 19; major damage, 20; minor damage, 11; affected, 48. Businesses, total of 30. Destroyed, 14; major, 10; minor, 4; affected, 2. These are initial damage reports. Information is still being gathered. The hardest hit counties are reported to be Jefferson, Scott, Ripley and Washington.

Fatalities: While initial reports from Scott County indicated there were three tornado related deaths, local officials have now confirmed there was only one. So the total number of known deaths related to this incident is now 12.

Clark, 1 fatality in Henryville
Jefferson, 4 fatalities in Saluda Twp near Chelsea
Ripley, 2 fatalities from the Holton area
Scott, 1 fatality in Lexington Twp (southeast Scott County)
Washington, 4 fatalities in New Pekin

Curfew: All of Clark County remains under a curfew between the hours of 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., issued by County Commissioners. Overnight travel is restricted to emergency and public safety personnel.

Utilities: Natural gas services have been restored in some areas of Henryville.

Travel Update:

State Road 62 near Friendship at the Ripley/Dearborn County is closed
State Road 160 EB (Clark County) west of Henryville at I-65 is open to local traffic only
U.S. 31 from S.R. 356 (Scott Co.) to S.R. 403 (Clark Co) is closed
State Road 362 (Clarke Co.) from S.R. 3 to S.R. 62 is scheduled to reopen today at 5:30 p.m.

For information on road closures, visit the Indiana Travel Conditions site, which can be found at http://indot.carsprogram.org or by calling (800) 261-ROAD (7623)

RESPONSE EFFORTS

Indiana Task Force 1: Indiana Task Force 1 team members have completely demobilized and returned home.

District Response Task Force (DRTF) 4: (Total of 14 persons) The incident management assistance team has been demobilized, except for a law enforcement team that remains on site to assist.

District Response Task Force (DRTF) 5 IMAT: (7 persons each shift – 14 total): Remains deployed to operate as Clark County Emergency Operations Center (Sellersburg, IN). Center is fully operational.

District Response Task Force (DRTF) 7: (19 persons total): Has been activated to Henryville to assist with debris management.

Indiana IMAT (12 persons): The Indiana Incident Management Assistance Team is coordinating debris management efforts in the Henryville and Marysville areas.

State Emergency Operations Center: Under the leadership of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), the Indiana Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains activated 24 hours a day to monitor conditions and provide resource support to county emergency agencies in affected areas.

The Indiana National Guard is completing operations and beginning to significantly minimize their presence in southern Indiana to 33 staff. All will demobilize after transition of the donation site to Indiana Volunteers Active in Disasters (INVOAD) tomorrow.

Indiana State Police (ISP): Thirty nine troopers with the Tactical Intervention Platoon (TIP) from Bloomington, Ft Wayne and Lafayette, IN remain deployed to southern Indiana, primarily in Henryville, Marysville and Pekin, to assist local law enforcement with security.

The Mobile Command Center and high ranking ISP officers remain in Henryville to assist local law enforcement with ongoing security efforts.

The Indiana Department of Transportation is supporting efforts to control traffic flow around affected areas.

Department of Natural Resources: Using several Four-Wheel-Drive and All-Terrain Vehicles, Indiana Conservation Officers continue to assist local law enforcement and emergency management officials with security and response and recovery operations.

The Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry has saw crews available to assist with debris removal.

Disaster Mental Health Teams: Twelve mental health professionals in three teams from Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addictions with Family and Social Services Administration have been deployed to provide assistance to those impacted by the storms. Teams have already arrived in Washington and Ripley counties. A team is expected to arrive in Clark County today. Crisis counseling line is toll free: 1-866-679-4631.

Current Shelters Open:

American Legion
209 S. Main Street
Salem, IN

Charlestown High School
1 Pirate Place
Charlestown, IN

Chelsea Church of God
6231 S. State Road 62
Lexington, IN 47138

Holton Community Center
50 East and West
Holton, IN

PUBLIC ADVISORIES

Toll-Free Crisis Counseling Line: The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) has established a toll free hotline to provide mental health services for those affected by the storm: 1-866 679 4631. Individuals can receive counseling by phone or referrals for services.

Storm Damage Reports: Hoosiers, who sustained damage caused by severe weather that began Thursday, March 1, are being asked to report damage online by visiting www.in.gov/dhs and clicking on “Citizen Damage Reports for March Severe Weather” in the middle of the page under “Topics of the Day.” This is NOT an application for any assistance program, but a way to help local emergency managers to assess storm damage progress.

Tornado survivors and concerned citizens can call 2-1-1 (or 317.926.4357) for help and information regarding the recent severe weather event.

For more information about actions before, during and after severe weather and tornados, visit GetPrepared.in.gov.

Follow IDHS on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/IDHS to stay informed about this developing situation.

Text “follow IDHS” to 40404 to receive updates from IDHS even if you do not have a twitter account.

###

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