The National Weather Service says a microburst cut a path of destruction from Gary to Merrillville.
NIPSCO reported Friday night that about 1,500 customers are still without power in northwest Indiana. Crews hope to have service restored to most everyone by later Friday night.
Chopper 7 HD got a good look at the destruction Friday morning: The storm ripped the roof off an apartment building in Merrillville, which forced dozens of residents to leave their homes.
In Gary, the storm toppled trees and sent them crashing on cars and buildings.
High winds also damaged the Temple of Deliverance in Christ Church.
"Of course the brick was staying, but it just ripped the roof off," said Pastor Lorenzo Bonds. "And that's probably about 135-140 feet long and about 35 feet deep. And what's amazing , it took the roof and blew it in the back of the church. That's about 300 feet from the distance where you can see it ripped off."
Rozetta Evans snapped pictures of her flattened Chrysler in the blazing morning heat Friday. Shattered glass tangled with shingles and what's left of her car in the parking lot of this Merrillville apartment complex, which was hit hard by Thursday afternoon's severe weather.
"There was a knock on my door, basically, and it was my neighbor saying the roof is on top of your car and that's when I came out and this is what I saw," Evans said. "I'm thankful that my children and I were not in the vehicle prior to this. We were going to make a run to the store but when it started storming, I decided not to. I just thank god my children are safe."
Carol Sims lives on the top floor of one of the buildings at Hickory Ridge Lake apartments, where the roof was stripped off. Heavy pieces of wood flew about 50 yards away smashing into parked cars.
"The roof is totally gone and now it's padlocked," Sims said. "I can't get in, it's bolted down."
Dozens of families had to evacuate.
Now they can't get back into their apartments for safety reasons.
Some spent the night at this Red Cross shelter in Gary and today people like Patty Estrada are cleaning up.
"I'm just so thankful there are so many kids here and not one child, not one person, got hurt and that is amazing, for as bad as this was you know," Estrada said.
A path of destruction stretches from Gary to Crown Point.
The fast-moving storm toppled trees and snapped power lines leaving, thousands without power.
"It looks like something out of a action movie," Kaye Mathis said. "Never anticipated anything like this to happen, especially like this car. Before I went to work, my car was parked there?so that would have been my car."