Weather leaves damage, prompts tornado warningMarch 15, 2019
By BILL POWELL
Severe weather that included wind gusts approaching 50 mph left its mark on Dubois County Thursday.
The Dubois County Bombers posted pictures showing a missing portion of the roof on the third-base side of League Stadium, and the county’s 911 log listed 26 entries regarding weather-related damage and debris incidents from the stormy day.
This morning, Rachel Steckler, director of community development for Huntingburg, announced that the main entrance and north parking lot at Huntingburg City Park are closed until further notice due to the storm damage at League Stadium. Park access is still available from the First Street and Cherry Street entrances.
A tornado warning for Dubois County at 12:56 p.m. was followed by what was an unconfirmed report of a funnel aloft over the Bretzville Junction area.
The National Weather Service office at Louisville said Thursday’s highest wind gust in Dubois County reached 48 mph. Those gusty winds and a pounding by more heavy rain — Ferdinand’s gauge caught 1.16 inches and Jasper recorded 2.06 inches — resulted in reports of lines and poles down or heavily leaning at Club Road and County Road 825S north of Ferdinand; Fifth and Jackson streets in Holland; East 14th Street in Ferdinand and County Road 620W west of Jasper near the Patoka River.
High water from flash flooding factored into a couple of Thursday accidents, and the Jasper Police Department worked an accident in which a tree fell onto a woman’s late-model SUV while she was driving in the 1800 block of Newton Street. She was unharmed.
U.S. 231 was blocked twice by fallen trees about 1 mile north of Haysville in Martin County. Once at 1:27 p.m. and again at 4:10 p.m. when units of the Haysville Volunteer Fire Department were paged to respond. Firefighters were on that second detail approximately 50 minutes.
Flooding left 14 county roadway sections blocked by high water today.
The actions of several area school bus drivers are being lauded because of their severe-weather responses.
Southwest Dubois County School Corporation drivers Donovan Brunsman and Tina Dearing were bringing 120 Huntingburg Elementary School third-graders back from an Owensboro, Kentucky, field trip when skies turned ominous and weather warnings came across the radio. They made the call to divert the two buses to the Lincoln Heritage Public Library in Dale, where staff led children into the safety of the basement, and even popped in a movie for them to watch until things settled.
“We made a call home to let third-grade parents know they were safe,” said Southwest Dubois Transportation Director Kelly Murphy. “The bus drivers made a great decision there. They are trained to do that stuff and they made the call in the best interests of our children.
“We’re very thankful to the Dale library staff doing the things they did in opening up their doors. It just makes you feel good to live in the area that you live in.”
Shoals High School sent a social media thank-you to Dubois County Tire & Supply after a South Knox School Corporation bus driver sought shelter at the Jasper business in similar circumstances. Shoals officials said the business opened its doors to 45 high school girls, two chaperones and a bus driver.
“We are grateful for your kindness, patience and hospitality,” the post read, adding that the school, families and community “are applauding you!”
Thursday’s severe weather came as officials are stressing the importance of promoting the public’s awareness of what actions to take in case of tornadoes and other types of severe weather. Next week has been officially proclaimed Severe Weather Preparedness Week in the Hoosier State.
“If this is any indication of what the season is going to be like, we’re in for a doozy,” said Dubois County Emergency Management Agency Director Tammy Humbert.
Humbert says March is a busy month for those in the emergency management arena.
On Tuesday, Dubois County will participate in a statewide tornado exercise in cooperation with the National Weather Service, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the Indiana Department of Education and the Indiana State Police. The tornado drill is planned for 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. Should actual severe weather be a threat that day, the exercise will be held March 20.
The exercise will be initiated with an announcement that a test tornado warning is about to occur.
Then, from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 23, at Rural King, 1920 Lube Way, Dubois County EMA volunteers will conduct a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio programming drive.
NOAA weather radios operate 24 hours a day, and are a reliable source of timely weather information about watches and warnings, but programming them can be confusing. Humbert said the public is asked to bring the manual that came with their radio and batteries, because, in the event of a power outage, backup batteries power the radios.
Humbert said there are also plans to follow Severe Weather Preparedness Week with a weather spotter training class in April. Tentative plans call for NWS Louisville staff to teach the class in Dubois County on April 9. Details will be released to the public soon.
Regarding Thursday’s unconfirmed report of a funnel cloud aloft in the Bretzville Junction area, Humbert said officials did not see any rotation on radar.
“I know the clouds were looking very ominous,” Humbert said. “From what we could see, there was no rotation and nothing did touch down. There were no reports of any structural damage other than [that from] the wind.”
NWS Louisville officials plan to send a team to conduct a storm survey in northwest Washington County today, focusing on damage recorded northwest of Salem.
The Dubois County Highway Department says these roads are blocked by high water:
• County Road 875W south of County Road 150N.
• County Road 50N west of County Road 750W.
• County Road 850W north of County Road 300S.
• County Road 150S west of Old Huntingburg Road.
• Ell Creek Road north of County Road 400S.
• County Road 175E north of County Road 300N.
• County Road 600N east of Kellerville Road.
• Old Huntingburg Road north of County Road 400S.
• County Road 400S west of Ell Creek Road.
• County Road 400S east of U.S. 231.
• County Road 130W north of County Road 400S.
• Old Road 64 west of Patoka Road.
• East First Street in Huntingburg west of County Road 75W.
• County Road 75W south of State Road 64.
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