Trees downed, homes damaged by NW Ind. storms

June 5, 2011 (ST. JOHN, Ind.)

A number of cities, including Hebron, Demotte, and St. John, saw downed trees and damaged homes.

The National Weather Service says the storm did not spawn a tornado, because there was no evidence of rotation.

That brought little comfort to people in St. John whose homes were damaged.

One tree was completely uprooted and all but leveled a house, one that the homeowner, Cindy Wagner, had only lived in for five months.

Wagner's neighbor, John Neyhart, is also dealing with a tree in his house.

"When the tree came down, it went through the roof and through the bedroom and down into the basement and took out my water, so I have no water or electric," said Neyhart.

Neyhart said the storm sounded like a tornado even if it was not one.

"I looked out, and all I saw was black, and so we headed to the basement," said Neyhart. "We were just going into that one area when the tree come through. It was just like an explosion."

Southeast of St. John, heavy rain and high winds did not spare DeMotte, Indiana, where a tree crashed through Gary Call's house.

He witnessed winds ripping three grain bins from their foundations.

"It hit again really hard and started getting black and I see the whole barn take off, the three grain bins just took off across the road," said Call. "I don't how they got across the road without taking out cars but they flew right through there high enough to miss 'em."

Back in St. John, as crews cleaned up, Neyhart was thankful no one was hurt, and he was also thankful that amid all the destruction, the storm did not touch his grandson's birdhouse.

"All through this whole thing, it's still standing, and there's two little birds in there," said Neyhart.

While the cleanup continued, NIPSCO continued to restore power Sunday evening, with thousands of people still without power in Northwest Indiana.

Lowell and DeMotte are among some of the hardest-hit communities.

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