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Tornado causes significant damage in Delaware and Randolph counties

By Stephanie Wiechmann and Stan Sollars, IPR News | Published on in Community, Local News, Weather
Winchester is cleaning up and assessing damage from last night's tornado. (Alan Mbathi / IPB News)

This story has been updated.

In an evening of severe weather, a tornado did extensive damage to two towns in Randolph and Delaware counties.  But, as IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, officials say the storm could have been much worse.

In Winchester, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department says overnight reports of mass casualties on social media were false.

Winchester Mayor Bob McCoy says 38 people were injured, three critically.  No one died.  The damage in Winchester, he says, is extensive.

“Twenty-two homes possibly totally destroyed and 110 badly damaged.  Again, very lucky.  There were houses that are leveled.  Taco Bell – leveled.  So, I really praise the Lord for this one, because we could have been – it could have been really bad.”

Heaven Ford sheltered at work when the sirens went off and then had trouble getting back home to what was left.

“Used to be a whole house with two garages and everything, and it’s completely gone.”

Governor Eric Holcomb, the Indiana State Police, and many state agencies are in Winchester to help restore power, assess damage, and help residents find each other at an emergency center set up at Winchester Community High School.

Andy Price is pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church.  He says he and his neighbors will just have to work through the cleanup.

“With the damage that’s all around the whole neighborhood we’‘ll be helping each other and finding out what other people need. Obviously people are getting to know each other that didn’t even know each other before already and it’ll probably take, looks like all the rest of the summer and up in to the fall to make it look like something again.”

Police also say residents evacuated from a local nursing home without power have been taken to a nearby hotel.

McCoy says anyone wanting to give monetary donations should contact the Community Foundation of Randolph County.

The Heart of Indiana United Way is also starting a tornado recovery fund for both Winchester and Selma.


Aerial photos show the tornado’s damage path in Selma. (Delaware County Indiana Emergency Management on Facebook)


The same tornado also did damage to Selma in nearby Delaware County.  Emergency management officials say half of the town’s structures sustained damage.  Minor injuries were reported.

The twister also reportedly struck cars on Indiana 32.

A reunification center was established at Wapahani High School to support those in the Selma area who may have been displaced or separated from loved ones.

As of Friday afternoon, Selma is using social media to organize weekend volunteers to help clear debris from local yards.

Reporting Damage

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is asking residents of Delaware and Randolph counties to contact Indiana 211 to report storm damage:

“To help establish a comprehensive assessment of damage, residents can call 211 or visit the Indiana 211 website. Collecting assessments via this process will help IDHS determine damage estimates and develop the next course of action in the disaster recovery process.”

Alan Mbathi of Indiana Public Broadcasting contributed reporting and photos to this story.

Stephanie Wiechmann is our Managing Editor and “All Things Considered” Host.  Contact her at slwiechmann@bsu.edu.

Stan Sollars is our Morning Edition host and a senior lecturer in Ball State’s Department of Media.  Contact him at stansollars@bsu.edu.