Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.
Meanwhile, a highway collapse caused by fast-moving water has closed a portion of Indiana 42 west of Indiana 59 and southwest of Brazil. It will not reopen until late today at the earliest.
A lightning strike knocked out communications and power at the Clay County Central Dispatch center for about three hours Monday afternoon, said Bryan Husband, director of the Clay County Emergency Management Agency.
“We had a portable station set up at the jail, and we had firefighters relaying information to the guys out in their cars,” Husband said.
Though the jail and dispatch center have a backup generator in case of power failure, the lightning strike took out the radios and electronics that work the system, he explained.In speaking with the National Weather Service, Husband said he learned that the storm started in the area of County Road 1100 North near County Road 300 West in Dick Johnson Township northwest of Brazil.
“There was not a lot of home damage,” he said, “It was mostly trees falling on power lines, and there was a garage damaged. The Staunton area had the most damage, and Center Point had a lot.”
Husband said the NWS indicated that a microburst or downburst of strong winds in multiple locations caused the damage. There was no tornado sighted, he said, and the nature of the damage did not indicate that a tornado occurred.
“It was a slow-moving storm, about 10 miles an hour,” he said, with the first wave coming at 3:30 p.m. Monday. “It caused a lot of damage because it was slow-moving.”
As of midday Tuesday, about 800 customers remained without power, he said.
No injuries were reported, and no requests for shelter or assistance were received, Husband noted.
Crews from Duke Energy continued to work on utility pole replacement and fallen lines throughout Tuesday.
Meanwhile, property owners were also busy cleaning up downed limbs and clearing brush.
Travis Allen of Brazil said he started cleaning up limbs from a large tree on Monday evening so that he could get his vehicles out of his driveway if needed.
On Tuesday afternoon, he continued to cut up wood from the limbs, while family members raked fallen twigs and leaves into piles around the yard.
On County Road 1100 North, a large tree uprooted by the storm had been partially cleared from a driveway. The house and outbuilding escaped visible damage from multiple trees that had fallen.
Duke Energy’s power outage website estimated that electricity would be restored to most of its customers in Clay and Vigo counties by 6 p.m. Tuesday.
About 229 customers on Terre Haute’s southeast side also lost power after trees and limbs fell onto utility equipment.
Only one road was reported closed because of storm damage. Because of the heavy rains, a twin pipe culvert on Indiana 42 eroded and collapsed the highway about 1.5 miles west of Indiana 59.
All of the westbound lane and shoulder of the road had collapsed into a creek, while the eastbound asphalt was sinking and showed a small hole to the water below.
The Indiana Department of Transportation was assessing the damage and needed repairs on Tuesday.
INDOT spokesperson Debbie Calder said the twin pipe structures are to be replaced today, with the intent of having the road reopened to traffic late today.
Meanwhile, traffic was rerouted onto nearby county roads, with the official detour running from Indiana 59 to Interstate 70 to U.S. 40 before returning to Indiana 42.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa