Tornadoes Kill At Least 14 In Southern Indiana
Indiana authorities say at least 14 people have been killed in violent storms that spawned tornadoes across a wide swath of southern Indiana. The twisters were spawned by powerful storms that stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. The death toll in Kentucky and Ohio, as well as Indiana, is at least 31.
Indiana State Police Sergeant Rod Russell said late Friday that four people had been killed in Washington County. He didn't have details about where they were or how they died.
Earlier, authorities said four people were killed in the Chelsea area, three people died in Scott County, two people were killed in nearby Ripley County and one person had died in Henryville.
Authorities say three schools in Henryville have been destroyed. The roof of the high school has been sheared off. Sara Reschar of West Clark Community Schools says only a handful of students were in the high school when the tornado struck. The rest had been sent home for the day. Had more students been in the school, Reschar says, "they all would have been gone.''
Images from WLKY showed a mangled school bus protruding from the side of a one-story building where it appeared to have been tossed by a tornado.
Officials warn the death toll could rise once search and rescue crews begin to comb through the town in daylight.
The Congressman who represents Henryville and Marysville, Indiana is working with the federal government to help areas ravaged by severe storms Friday.
Staff for U.S. Representative Todd Young held a conference call with FEMA officials Friday. They've also been consulting with U.S. Representative Billy Long's office on disaster response. Long represents Joplin, Missouri which was virtually destroyed by tornadoes last year.
One of Young's top aides also spent Friday night in Henryville working with local law enforcement.
Young spokesman Trevor Foughty said his staff will also likely set up a mobile office to help victims file property damage assessment forms. The forms are used to help determine the federal relief that is sent to the area.
Meanwhile, Gov. Mitch Daniels traveled southern Indiana Saturday morning to assess the damage from tornadoes that raked the region Friday. A release from Daniels' office said he was surveying the damage in Henryville at around 9:30 AM, Eastern Time.
Daniels said that "Mother Nature has dealt harshly with Indiana'' in a statement Friday. He says humans "are no match for Mother Nature at her worst'' despite advances in disaster preparedness, warning systems and responder communications.
The governor's office said Daniels didn't t travel to the area Friday night because he didn't want to interrupt the rescue efforts.