Pendleton Still Tallying Up Tornado Damage

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Pendleton Still Tallying Up Tornado Damage

Damage will be well short of federal disaster threshold, but homes, treasured park hit by Memorial Day storm

(PENDLETON, Ind.) - Eleven days after a Memorial Day tornado ripped through Pendleton, the town is still adding up the damage.

Tree stumps dot the yards where landscaping crews have been at work almost since the tornado hit, carving up damaged and toppled trees. Pendleton's lush tree canopy has been a point of pride, especially in the town's showplace, Falls Park. The tornado clipped the top of a stone lighthouse in the park's central pond, and uprooted some of the biggest trees. Town Council member Jessica Bastin says in the immediate aftermath, the playground equipment in the park was completely  hidden by a maze of toppled trees.

There's no damage estimate yet, though town and county officials say it will be well short of the $10 million threshold which triggers federal disaster aid  Town manager Tim McClintick says there will be federal help from the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Forest Service may help with the cost of pruning and replanting trees. There's also insurance coverage, though McClintick says some homeowners are findnig their coverage doesn't address tree damage.

McClintick says there could e additional costs -- and potentially federal assistance -- for stormwater drainage. The lost trees had helped to control flooding by absorbing rainfall to grow. The town and the Department of Natural Resources will be checking Fall Creek for fallen limbs which could create a flood risk.

There could also be further damage that's not evident yet. McClintick notes damaged tree limbs can fall off as long as six weeks after the storm. And the town still hasn't assessed damage in the four miles of trails through the woods in Falls Park.

(Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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