13,000 people without power in NW Ind. after storms

July 5, 2012 (GARY, Ind.)

The damage is extensive in Gary and Merrillville.

The storms blew through a little after 4 p.m. There was heavy rain, but the majority of the damage was caused by wind.

The damage was especially severe in the southeast section of Gary. Dozens of trees were blown down in one neighborhood.

The sound of chainsaws buzzing filled the air with cleanup under way in Gary Thursday night. The high winds associated with the storm wreaked havoc on many of Gary's trees, knocking them over on to cars and homes.

"I was amazed. Astonished. All kinds of things. Just in shock," said Mary Ann Doroux.

Winds took part of the roof off the Temple of Deliverance in Christ Church, sending it flying through the neighborhood. Church members are already starting the cleanup process. Renovation work was nearly finished on the church after a fire several years ago, and the storm damage is yet another setback.

"We're thankful; it could have ripped all of the building," said Pastor Lorenzo Bonds. "We just mostly got water damage on the part that we're using, so some of the members of the church... are taking care of that."

The National Weather Service has confirmed that a microburst skipped through Northwest Indiana, causing damage.

The wind blew a semi onto its side on I-65 near Merrillville and ripped the roof off an apartment complex in Merrillville, sending debris flying. Cleanup crews and residents have a lot of work to do in the coming days.

"A lot of infrastructure damage in particular, with a lot of sidewalks turned up, trees basically uprooted," said Cozey Weatherspoon, Gary's director of general services.

The majority of the power outages were caused by trees that have been blown over into power lines. Gary officials say NIPSCO told them it could be several days before they are able to get all of the power outages back online and with the heat, it is going to be a difficult situation for a lot of people in Gary Thursday night into Friday.

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