Fatalities Confirmed from Tornadoes in Southern Indiana
Henryville Junior-Senior High School was heavily damaged by Friday's tornado. (photo courtesy of Chance Walser - RTV6)
At least 18 people are dead following severe storms that swept through southern Indiana Friday.
|Homes were leveled in the town of Holton in Ripley County
(photo courtesy of RTV6)
Henryville, Indiana in Clark County saw extensive damage throughout the town. WHAS reports three people are confirmed dead and many more injured in the town about 20 miles north of Louisville. At Henryville Junior-Senior High School, some 80 students had been trapped in the school which suffered serious damage but authorities say all got out fine.
Governor Daniels Saturday declared disaster emergencies in the following counties: Clark, Gibson, Harrison, Jefferson, Posey, Ripley, Scott, Shelby, Vanderburgh, Warrick, Washington.
WIBC listener Mike says he saw the twister that ripped through Henryville as he was driving.
"It trashed the place pretty good. There's a little overpass there. I'm not sure what the road was but three or four billboards down, a semi rolled over, trees down, a couple trees rolled down into the ditch," Mike says.
Also in Clark County, the small town of Marysville saw a huge amount of destruction. One official said the town was "completely gone" following the tornado that passed through. Marysville resident Debbie Gilbert tells RTV6 everything is gone but the town is lucky.
"The silos, the grain bins, they're all gone but no one was hurt. Our neighborhood has been very lucky. It's been very devastated with the damage but at least no one lost their lives so we've been very fortunate," Gilbert says.
Four people have been confirmed dead in Jefferson County including a 4-year-old boy and his great-grandparents. The twister damaged or destroyed several dozen homes along State Road 62. One house was lifted off its foundation and moved about 75 yards.
The Ripley County Sheriff's Department confirms to WCPO-TV that four people are dead in the Holton area near U.S. 50. Many roads were closed due to the amount of debris strewn about. Holton Town Marshal Bob Curl tells RTV6 that the town has always been a close group.
"It's very close-knit. Everybody knows everyone and it's just real hard whenever you see everybody lose everything and everybody will help everybody in this town do what anybody needs for each other. It's going to take a long time to get it back to where it was," Curl says.
The State of Indiana Joint Information Center confirms three deaths in Scott County and four deaths in Washington County. Governor Mitch Daniels' spokesperson Jane Jankowski says the governor will travel to southern Indiana areas damaged by the storms.
"Once again Mother Nature has dealt harshly with Indiana. Our every thought is with those we’ve lost and those who have suffered," Governor Daniels said in a statement Friday. "We’ve learned so much and improved so much in disaster preparedness, warning systems and responder communications but still we are no match for Mother Nature at her worst. We’re hopeful that we know the full extent of the damage but it will be tomorrow before we can give a final report with any confidence."
The governor plans to visit areas affected by the storm early Saturday morning.
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