Tornado cleanup continues with eye on virus safety

Photos by Macabe Brown/Evansville Courier & Press via AP
The street sign for the intersection of Hemlock Way and Blue Spruce Drive sits in the yard of 6622 Hemlock Way in Newburgh Sunday morning. A tornado crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky and hit the Newburgh area, Saturday night, tearing roofs off homes and toppling trees and power lines.

By The Associated Press

NEWBURGH — Crews and homeowners cleaning up after a weekend tornado swept a southwestern Indiana town are working under the watchful eye of local officials eager to make sure they adhere to social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

After Saturday night's storm swept through neighborhoods in Newburgh, an Ohio River town of about 3,000 residents, cleanup crews, homeowners and volunteers fanned out across the area Sunday and again Monday as officials monitored them to ensure that they were not working too closely together, said Dave Woolen, director of Warrick County Emergency Management.

“I’m not saying we’re getting done. But we’re trying to keep our people that are working to have that 6 feet spacing," he said Monday of public health advice for combating the virus' spread.

Two people were injured in Saturday's storm or its immediate aftermath, including an elderly woman who was airlifted to a hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, for surgery on a severe hand injury, Woolen said.

Initial damage estimates found that three homes were destroyed by the tornado and several others sustained major or minor damage in Newburgh, located just east of Evansville, he said. Damage assessments and cleanup work resumed Monday along streets and residential properties.

Saturday night’s tornado initially touched down in an adjacent portion of Kentucky before sweeping across the Ohio River into Newburgh.

The National Weather Service in Paducah, Kentucky, said the tornado was an EF-2 with peak winds of 125 mph (201 kilometers per hour) that left a 5-mile-long (8-kilometer-long) trail of damage that included hundreds of snapped or uprooted trees and property damage.

A storm-damaged house sits behind the remnants of a tree that mimics the smaller ones adjacent after heavy winds hit the area Saturday night in Newburgh Sunday morning. A tornado crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky and hit the Newburgh area, Saturday night, tearing roofs off homes and toppling trees and power lines.
Nathan Steurer helps clear trees from his grandparent's driveway in the Ridgewood neighborhood in Newburgh Sunday morning. A tornado crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky and hit the Newburgh area, Saturday night, tearing roofs off homes and toppling trees and power lines.
Tiffany Russelburg removes children's belongings from the Mosbey home after wind ripped the roof from the house Saturday night in Newburgh  Sunday afternoon. Family, friends and coworkers from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana assisted in the cleanup. A tornado crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky and hit the Newburgh area, Saturday night, tearing roofs off homes and toppling trees and power lines



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