Report storm damage immediately
Monday's storm leaves lots of damage

Wanda English Burnett

T Tornado, high winds, wind shear, thunderstorm - whatever the National Weather Service decides to call it, the storm that took a cut through Ripley County Monday night left debris and damage wherever it touched.

According to Ripley County Emergency Management Director Wayne Peace, the weather service has determined that a small tornado - a FO - the lowest on the scale, did touch down somewhere between Milan and Sunman.

The storm came from the west, took a northbound path through Holton and continued in that pattern leaving homes and structures destroyed along a path that included Osgood, Napoleon, Milan and Sunman.

Destruction was seen at Holton on County Road 950 where a tree went into a home. A barn was completely destroyed in that area as well.

On Michigan Road near US 50, Jamie and Tracy Bradley lost their barn as the wind literally blew the concrete blocks apart and the roof into trees across the road. “I got the kids in the basement,” noted Tracy, when she knew the storm was upon them, but was still concerned because her husband wasn’t home yet. Jamie had stopped at Dabney, less than a mile from his home, to ride out the storm.
The Bradleys were glad to have escaped with their lives. The only semi-casualty was a cat that was stuck under a piece of equipment, that had been picked up by the wind and put down on the cat’s paw. The chickens and rabbits, recently purchased for fair projects, were safe inside their pens in the barn.

Peace noted he stopped by the Bradleys and also noticed a propane tank lying on its side. That was reported immediately and taken care of.

At Osgood, the Richardsons sustained heavy damage to a home on 202 E. Franklin Street when a huge tree twisted at the right height to smash into their roof sending branches sprawling across the roof. “The only room that was safe was the bathroom,” a family member told The Versailles Republican. That was the room the person living there had taken refuge in with his black lab. Both were safe.

There were many other reports of damage throughout the county with houses damaged, barns destroyed and trees down. Power outages added to the situation as Southeastern Indiana REMC and Duke Energy have worked around the clock to restore power.

Peace noted his power was off about 24 hours after the storm hit the area.

The county highway department employees have been busy clearing roads working hard to make sure all the roads are passable for motorists. Sheriff’s deputies have also had an extra load along with dispatchers who get numerous calls for help when these types of storms occur. Firefighters, along with weather spotters have kept busy as they report to their stations to assist others.

Peace urges citizens to report all damage to the following website: He noted that it is best to go ahead and give an estimate to the best of your ability on what you think the damage is. “It’s okay if it’s not exact,” he told The Versailles Republican. He will meet with officials from Indiana Homeland Security on Friday to tally the destruction for the county. This is how it is determined if the county will qualify for any help from the federal government.

Residents are asked to go online to the IDHS website at: If you do not have access to a computer, go to your nearest library and use their public computers. Peace stressed the importance of reporting damage after storms such as this one and the flooding on April 18. “Do not wait to report. Do it today,” urged Peace.

This storm has come and gone and left people picking up the pieces. While no injuries to individuals have been reported, there are more storms on the horizon.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Noel Houze says, “The spring of 2011 has been challenging to say the least.” He pointed out the storms that have swept the nation and offers some safety tips to help citizens survive severe weather events:

• Purchase a NOAA weather radio. These radios will warn you of approaching severe weather. This can be especially important during the overnight hours when you may be asleep.

• In your home. Go to the basement if you have one. If you do not have a basement, seek shelter in an interior room in your home away from windows such as a closet or a bathroom. Cover yourself with blankets or heavy coats to protect you against flying debris.

• At school or in other public buildings. Seek shelter in an interior hallway or under a stairwell on the lowest level of the building. Avoid areas that have windows or wide span roofs. Sit in a crouched position and cover your head to protect yourself from flying debris. Follow the instructions of employees or staff members.

• In a car or mobile home. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY! Very little protection is offered in either a car or mobile home. Seek shelter in a more substantial or permanent structure. If there is no other structure nearby, seek protection in a ditch or other low lying area away from trees and power lines if possible. Lie flat and cover your head.

In addition to these tips, the Indiana State Police advise residents to have a home emergency plan with your family. Also, prepare an emergency kit which includes documents such as a mortgage, insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, etc. if they are not already secured in a safety deposit box at the bank.

You should also have a kit with first aid supplies and extra medication such as insulin or blood pressure medications.

While the storm that came through Ripley County was a narrow band according to authorities, it caused a lot of destruction to those affected by it.

Peace advises residents to be aware of impending storms, take cover, and report damage afterwards.

Pictured above a huge tree fell directly on the roof of the Richardson home in Osgood, leaving it unlivable. Residents were trying to get out important items to them as the roof creaked on Tuesday morning. Pictured to the left, a barn at the resident of Jamie and Tracy Bradley was completely blown apart by the storm that ravaged the area on Monday night. The tin from the roof was thrown along their fence row and into the trees across the street.