Storms Blast Region; One Tornado Reported

By Peter Ambrose
By Scott Sarvay
By Max Resnik
By Megan Trent

April 20, 2011 Updated Nov 25, 2013 at 2:53 AM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. & CELINA, Ohio (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Fort Wayne escaped significant damages after strong storms swept across Indiana and Ohio overnight.

In Fort Wayne, most of the damage could be found at a small strip center at St. Joe Rd. and Evard Rd. An awning that stretched across business storefronts was ripped from the roof and building-front and launched backward into the field behind the businesses. As the awning ripped from the building’s façade, stone, aluminum and plastic covered the underlying parking lot. No one was hurt. No cars were damaged either.

Donny Manco, Owner of New Republic Tattoo, says they will have no trouble picking up the pieces. Today he said, “It seems to be just cosmetic, and in the end it's actually really good news because no one's hurt and nobody's cars were damaged or anything like that. So by in large, it's really not, you know, a bad story. It's repairable, so it's cool.”

Jerry Seifert, Owner of Bikes-And-Boards, echoed Manco saying, “It's almost miraculous nobody got hurt. No damage to the inventory and as far as I'm concerned, we're open for business.”

One witness, described howling winds that seemed to change direction each second. He said the door to Mama Mia’s Pizza was blown open by a particular wind gust. The pizza shop’s surveillance camera caught some of the footage. The witness described the event as lasting between three and four minutes, beginning close to 11:20 p.m.

No storefront windows were broken.

The cost of the damage has not yet been reported.

But Mercer County, Ohio apparently took a big hit. Officials say they received a report that a tornado touched-down in Celina and cut into neighboring Auglaize County early Wednesday morning.

Several homes, barns and vehicles were either damaged or destroyed. The Aldi's, Walmart and Menards stores as well as a hotel were also said to be heavily damaged, and a barn in Van Wert county was destroyed. An attached two car garage northeast of Celina was also ripped from a home, and a barn was demolished leaving the cars and boats inside ruined.

No injuries have been reported, but there were numerous power outages in the Celina area. Celina Public Schools were put on a 2-hour delay.

Officials with the National Weather Service have now confirmed that the tornado that ripped through Celina was a strong EF1 or a weak EF2.

The Eastbrook Community School system in Marion was closed. Grant County was also hit hard by storms and hail, and is still dealing with nearly 2,000 power outages.

About 100 outages are being reported in Allen County. A couple power poles were knocked down on Butler Road, right across from Indiana's NewsCenter. Electricity was cut along in the Butler and Hillegas Road areas.

Very few damages were reported in Fort Wayne. But a commercial plaza was hit hard at Saint Joe and Evard Roads on the city's northeast side. An awning over a few store fronts was ripped off the building, likely by strong wind gusts.

A bike and ski shop bore much of the brunt. Bricks from the wall littered the front entrance. The Mama Mia's pizzeria on the other end, however, was left relatively unscathed. The front awning bearing its name remains intact. Employees were working in the store at the time and were fortunately unhurt.

Many of northeast Indiana's other counties also escaped serious damages. Police agencies reported downed tree branches and damages to roofs and sheds.




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