Historic Tornado Outbreak Sunday - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Historic Tornado Outbreak Sunday

Eastbrook Trailer Park Eastbrook Trailer Park
Eastbrook Trailer Park Eastbrook Trailer Park
New Media Producer: Kerry Corum

UPDATE, 2:10 PM CST SUN: A curfew is in effect for Warrick County, set for 7:00 PM until daylight. They report five fatalities in the county.

UPDATE, 1:55 PM CST SUN: Rescuers are trying to free a child from an area at the back of the Eastbrook Mobile Home park. The child is talking and alert and rescuers are confident they can get her out alive.

UPDATE, 1:50 PM CST SUN: Rescuers have found a young girl alive in a ditch at an Evansville trailer park devastated by an overnight tornado.

Dale Naylor, assistant chief of the Knight Township Fire Department, says rescuers found the girl under debris in a ditch. She's conscious and talking to rescuers.

He says finding the girl alive has made rescuers "ecstatic. We've been dealing with death all day."

The girl had remained in the ditch since the tornado hit the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park on the southeast side of Evansville when the tornado cut a swath through it about 2:00 AM CST.

Twenty people have been confirmed dead at the trailer park, and officials say four more are confirmed dead in nearby Warrick County.

UPDATE, 1:45 PM CST SUN: Governor Daniels' military helicopter has just landed in Eastbrook Mobile Home park, to assess the damage first-hand.

UPDATE, 1:39 PM CST SUN: More than 13,000 Vectren customers in southwestern Indiana are still without power after a tornado ripped through the Evansville area overnight.

Vectren spokesman Mike Roeder says he doesn't know how soon power will be restored because of serious damage from the storm.

He says the storm snapped poles and "crippled" huge metal towers that carry high-voltage transmission lines to the Boonville area.

Most of the outages are in Warrick County.

UPDATE, 1:35 PM CST SUN:The Vanderburgh County coroner's office now says 20 people are confirrmed dead after a devastating tornado that struck southwestern Indiana early Sunday.

Sixteen of those deaths occurred at the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park, on the southeast side of Evansville, when the tornado cut a swath through it about 2:00 AM CST.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth says emergency rescuers just found one person alive who was wrapped in debris in a ditch at the trailer court. He did not give the person's age or gender.

Indiana Homeland Security spokeswoman Pam Bright says another four people were confirmed dead in adjoining Warrick County, east of Evansville, where the Ohio River city of Newburgh was struck.

UPDATE, 1:25 PM CST SUN: Sheriff Brad Ellsworth confirms they have just pulled a young survivor from the wreckage in that area. It's been hours since the last victim was found alive.

The death toll has reached 20, 16 in Eastbrook Mobile Home park.

UPDATE, 1:13 PM CST SUN: The Vanderburgh County coroner's office says 20 people now confirmed dead - 16 of them at an Evansville-area mobile home park - in the wake of tornado in southwestern Indiana.

UPDATE, 1:00 PM CST SUN: Governor Ernie Fletcher is touring homes and businessses damaged by a tornado in Munfordville in south-central Kentucky. The governor's tour comes amid the sound of chain saws buzzing.

The Hart County town was hit by one of at least two tornadoes that touched down early Sunday. The other touched down at Ellis Park race track in Henderson and killed three horses.

National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Schott in Louisville says a tornado has been confirmed at Munfordville. And the weather service in Paducah is confirming that it was a tornado at Ellis Park.

UPDATE, 12:40 PM CST SUN: Officials now say a tornado that ripped across parts of Indiana and Kentucky has killed at least 16 people. But they say that number is expected to grow because people could still be trapped in the debris of a devastated mobile home park in Evansville.

A spokeswoman for Indiana's homeland security agency says about 100 mobile homes were destroyed and 125 others damaged.

The chief deputy coroner for Vanderburgh County says "it's just terrible."

UPDATE, 12:30 PM CST SUN: State Fire Marshal and deputy director of Homeland Security Roger Johnson says, "Vanderburgh County was very well prepared for [a storm] of this magnitude."

UPDATE, 11:40 AM CST SUN: The National Guard is on scene, along with Red Cross and several other rescue teams at Eastbrook Mobile Home park. They are still searching for victims and/or survivors in the devastated park.

Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties are under a state of emergency. Authorities say travel will be limited to official business only.

UPDATE, 11:30 AM CST SUN: According to Meteorologist Jeff Lyons, at 2:15 AM, a trailer home was destroyed in Degonia Springs. The warning had been issued by the National Weather service at 1:46 AM for Vanderburgh County, Warrick County at 1:49, giving approximately 15 minutes for people to get to a safe place. 

There are also injuries reportedly in the Smith Mills area and four people were taken to Methodist Hospital for injuries, two admitted and one remains in the emergency room.

UPDATE, 11:00 AM CST SUN: Governor Daniels is en route to southwestern Indiana to survey storm damage in the wake of Sunday morning's deadly tornado. The governor will tour storm damage with the state's homeland security chief.

Sunday's tornado death toll of at least 16 is the deadliest in Indiana since a 1974 tornado outbreak left 47 Hoosiers dead.

Vectren now says 16,000 customers are without power.

UPDATE, 10:50 AM CST SUN:The death toll from a devastating tornado that struck southwestern Indiana early Sunday has risen to 16. And officials expect it to grow even higher as rescuers comb through debris in a devastated mobile home park near Evansville.

Annie Groves is chief deputy coroner for Vanderburgh County. She says at least 12 people were killed in the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park on the southeast side of Evansville when the tornado cut a swath through it about 2:00 a.m. CST.

She says the death toll is expected to grow because an unknown number of dead and injured are believed still trapped in debris at the park.

Indiana homeland security spokeswoman Pam Bright says another four people were confirmed dead in adjoining Warrick County, east of Evansville, where the Ohio River city of Newburgh was struck.

Earlier, she said five were killed there, but she says the fifth person is alive but in critical condition.

UPDATE, 10:25 AM CST SUN: Chief Deputy Williams says, "We are not allowing people back into the site right now."

The death toll from a devastating tornado that struck southwestern Indiana early Sunday has risen to 17. And officials expect it to grow even higher as rescuers comb through debris in a devastated mobile home park near Evansville.

Annie Groves is chief deputy coroner for Vanderburgh County. She says at least 12 people were killed in the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park on the southeast side of Evansville when the tornado cut a swath through it about 2:00 a.m. CST.

She says the death toll is expected to grow because an unknown number of dead and injured are believed still trapped in debris at the park.

Indiana homeland security spokeswoman Pam Bright says about 100 homes were destroyed and 125 others were damaged at the park, where there were about 320 occupied homes.

Bright says another five people were confirmed dead in adjoining Warrick County, east of Evansville, where the Ohio River city of Newburgh was struck.

She says Sunday morning's tornado was the deadliest to strike Indiana since April 3rd, 1974, when an outbreak of several tornadoes killed 47 people and destroyed more than 2000 homes.

UPDATE, 10:20 AM CST SUN: Indiana homeland security spokeswoman says 17 people confirmed dead after tornado hit southwestern Indiana. Officials expected the death toll was expected to grow. About 200 people had been injured.

The tornado ripped across southwestern Indiana and northern Kentucky early Sunday, wrecking homes and knocking out power to thousands.

Witnesses say the tornado touched down near Henderson, Kentucky, and hopped across the Ohio River into Indiana at around 2:00 a.m.

Vanderburg County sheriff's dispatcher Diane Duvall says five people were killed at the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park on the southeast side of Evansville.

Henderson County sheriff's dispatcher Michelle King says no deaths were reported in Kentucky.

At the Ellis Park racetrack between Evansville and Henderson, the Henderson County Sheriff's department says about half of the track's grandstands had been destroyed, along with horse barns and housing units.

UPDATE, 10:15 AM CST SUN: Chief Deputy Eric Williams says in a press conference, "We're still recovering survivors and bodies. I can tell you right now, we have 11 confirmed dead."

UPDATE, 10:00 AM CST SUN: State and county officials say death toll in the wake of a tornado that struck southwestern Indiana has risen to 17 and is expected to grow. At least 200 people were injured by, according to initial reports, an F3 tornado.

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department is expected to hold a press conference at 10:00 AM Sunday.

UPDATE, 9:55 AM CST SUN: Homeland Security reports ten dead in Eastbrook Mobile Home park.

Warrick County Coroner Don Harris confirmed three fatalities, two near the community of Degonia Springs and one near the village of Yankeetown.

Vectren spokesman Mike Roeder says power is still out to about 17,000 customers.

UPDATE, 9:45 AM CST SUN: Authorities say at least 15 people are dead after a tornado that ripped across southwestern Indiana and northern Kentucky early Sunday morning.

The storms wrecked homes and knocked out power to about 25,000 people.

It touched down near Henderson, Kentucky, and jumped the Ohio River into Indiana at around 2:00 AM.

Indiana homeland security spokeswoman Pam Bright says 15 deaths have been confirmed in the state's southwest corner around Evansville.

Witnesses on the scene said 50 or 60 mobile homes appeared to have been destroyed, and a number of them had been tossed into a manmade lake by the twister.

The tornado developed in a line of thunderstorms that rolled rapidly eastward across the Ohio Valley during the morning.

The National Weather Service has posted severe thunderstorm warnings for sections of northern Ohio.

UPDATE, 9:25 AM CST SUN: Boonville residents are being asked to conserve water. According to the water department, they are unable to replenish the water supply to the city while the power is out.

UPDATE, 9:15AM CST SUN: A state official says at least 15 people are dead in the wake of a tornado that tore across southwestern Indiana early Sunday, devastating a mobile home park near Evansville.

Indiana's Homeland Security agency spokeswoman Pam Bright says about 200 people were injured.

Bright says ten people have been confirmed dead on the southeast side of Evansville at the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park, where she said victims were still being pulled from the debris.

Another five people were confirmed dead in adjoining Warrick County, where the Ohio River city of Newburgh was also raked by the tornado, which struck just after 2:00 AM CST Sunday.

Bright says the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park, with about 350 homes, was devastated when the tornado crossed the Ohio River after striking near Henderson, Kentucky, and moved into Indiana's Vanderburgh County.

The storm struck the mobile home park first before moving into adjoining Warrick County, destroying homes in and around Newburgh.

Henderson County sheriff's dispatcher Michelle King says no deaths were reported in Kentucky.

At the Ellis Park racetrack between Evansville and Henderson, the Henderson County Sheriff's department says about half of the track's grandstands had been destroyed, along with horse barns and housing units.

UPDATE, 9:00AM CST SUN: A tornado ripped through the southern Indiana counties of Henderson, Vanderburgh and Warrick early Sunday morning, causing extensive damage and injuring or killing an unknown number of people.

Police report severe damage at Ellis Park race track, at the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park near Evansville's southeast side, and in the Warrick County town of Newburgh.

Eric Williams, chief deputy for the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's department, said he believed dozens of people had been injured at the mobile home park. At least five have been confirmed dead there.

Evansville hospitals are reporting numerous injuries, and authorities at Ellis Park report that a number of horses have been killed.

UPDATE, 8:50AM CST SUN: Indiana Homeland Security confirms 15 fatalities in southern Indiana. The twister is believed to have started in Union Township, moving across Ellis Park to Eastbrook Mobile Home park. There's a state of emergency declared in Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties.

UPDATE, 8:40AM CST SUN: Witnesses tell Newswatch reporter Emily Sinovic that three are dead in Degonia Springs in eastern Warrick County, one was a pregnant woman. And the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department confirms five deaths in the Eastbrook Mobile Home park.

UPDATE, 8:20AM CST SUN: A state of emergency has now been declared for Vanderburgh County. Warrick is also under a state of emergency.

UPDATE, 8AM CST SUN: The Eastbrook Mobile Homes area is being evacuated, including the undamaged homes. Warrick County is under a state of emergency.

We now have first reports of damage from Degonia Springs. Newswatch's Emily Sinovic says there are many homes destroyed in that area of Warrick County as well.

Here are the emergency phone numbers to try to contact family members:

Red Cross: 812-471-7200
Deaconess Hospital: 812-450-7200
St. Mary's Medical Center: 812-485-4606

UPDATE, 7:30AM CST SUN: Warrick County coroner  Don Harris reports to the Associated Press that they have confirmed three fatalities, two in Degonia Springs and one near the village of Yankeetown.

UPDATE, 7:05AM CST SUN: Warrick County is under a state of emergency. The Warrick Sheriff's Department and county commissioners have made the declaration. Only emergency travel is permitted at this time.Do you have any damage images or reports? E-mail us!   

Brandi Crawley lives in Eastbrook Trailer Park. She tells Newswatch that she was return from the storm when the twister hit. She says she met a vehicle carrying her mother, her children, and her childrens' father coming out of the park. "I saw it pick the car up and throw it into the trees." Crawley says no one suffered serious injuries.

UPDATE, 6:30AM CST SUN: We are now seeing the first images of the damage in the Eastbrook Trailer Park. Some homes are destroyed, while others are untouched. We are getting additional damage reports. The tornado apparently first hit in Union Township of Vanderburgh County, then moved northeast through Ellis Park, the Eastbrook Trailer and into Newburgh in Warrick County. The storm first hit in Union Township about 1:45am CST.

We are also getting preliminary reports of damage in Degonia Springs in eastern Warrick County.

UPDATE, 6:20AM CST SUN: People trying to find loved ones who are missing can call the Red Cross at 812-471-7200. 

Deaconess Hospital spokesman Sam Rogers tells Newswatch that people can also call 812-450-7200 to see if a missing person is being trated at Deaconess. He says they have seen about 25 patients in their emergency room so far.

Rogers says they have launched their disaster plan and have their facility full staffed to handle additional patients.

UPDATE, 5:50am CST SUN: There are at least three fatalities reported in Warrick County, and possibly as many as five more fatalities in Vanderburgh County. That information comes from on the scene reports and the Vanderburgh County coroner's office. Do you have any damage images or reports? E-mail us!    

St. Mary's Medical Center spokesman Jeff Jones tells Newswatch that they have treated 105 pataients, most with minor injuries. However, there have also been a number of more serious injuries. Jones says patients are still coming to the hospital at this time.

Storm Team chief meteorologist Jeff Lyons says the worst tornado in southwest Indiana to date was the Petersburgh tornado with eight deaths.

UPDATE, 5AM: The Associated Press is reporting that Vanderburgh County chief deputy Eric Williams estimates dozens of injured at the Eastbrook Trailer Park.

UPDATE, 4:45AM CST SUN: We have reports from more damage in the 4200 block of State Road 261. Residents Paul Adams and Tyler Moss were in their apartment when the storm hit.

Adams says, "I was sleeping, all of a sudden, it was like it was thundering and lightning in our apartment. Then the whole building shook, our window broke, and there was water pouring in."

Moss says, "It sounded like there was a jet engine in our apartment."

UPDATE, 4:05AM CST SUN: Vectren spokesman Mike Roeder tells Newswatch that at least 25,000 customers have lost power. He says they'll have to wait until daylight to fully assess damage.

U.S. Highway 41 has re-opened at Ellis Park.

Newswatch reporter Kim Dacey is on the scene. Kim reports that people are still trapped in their homes, particularly in the Eastbrook Trailer Park area.

We have reports from Newburgh Health Care Center that all the residents are OK, and the facility is operating on generator power.

UPDATE, 4AM CST SUN: Zion Church on First Street in Newburgh is open for anyone needing shelter.UPDATE, 3:45AM CST SUN: Storm Team spotter Shawn Weber is also an emergency worker in Warrick County. He tells Newswatch there are many roads blocked, many buildings damaged or destroyed. He says the worst area appears to be from Angel Mounds to the Highway 66/261 area.

At Ellis Park, Newswatch photojournalist Dave Novak reports significant damage. Law enforcement officers are also in the area trying to find horses that have gotten loose because of storm damage.

UPDATE, 3:30AM CST SUN: There are many homes and businesses damaged or destroyed. Emergency crews are staging at the Angel Mounds boat ramp. There is a continued threat of natural gas leaks. Do you have any damage images or reports? E-mail us!

UPDATE, 3:15AM SUN: Storm Team meteorologist Byron reports at least one natural gas leak in the affected area. Do you have any damage images or reports? E-mail us!

UPDATE, 3:05AM SUN: A triage center is being set up in the area near Angel Mounds. Authorities are trying to get METS buses to the area to evacuate residents.

UPDATE, 3AM SUN: Storm Team meteorologist Byron Douglas reports significant storm damage in the Highway 662 area of Newburgh. Near Epworth Road, there are confirmed injuries. Byron says the damage looks very similar to damage he's seen in previous tornadoes in the F-2 and F-3 range.

Roofs are torn off houses. Byron says a woman at one residence is reporting a broken leg.

The National Weather Service has not confirmed any tornadoes yet, although there were a number of radar indicated tornado warnings.

UPDATE, 2:45AM SUN: Ambulances have been dispatched to the Eastbrooke Trailer Park. Damage reports in Newburgh include a car crashed into a house.

UPDATE, 2:15AM SUN: Storm Team spotters report at least minor wind damage in Newburgh. U.S. Highway 41 is closed near Ellis Park because of storm damage. There is possible major structural damage to the grandstand at Ellis Park.

UPDATE, 2AM SUN: Strong storms are moving through the Tri-State at this time.

A tornado warning has been issued for Warrick County. There are reports of damage at Ellis Park.

Storm Team chief meteorologist Jeff Lyons says we've had .72 inches of rain at the WFIE station on Evansville's west side. Byron Douglas reports the power is out in Newburgh. A Storm Team spotter reports a possible tornado.

There are additional reports of damage at the Eastbrooke Trailer Park, which is south of I-164 in the Ellis Park area.

EARLIER: A strong cold front will sweep through the Tri-state Saturday night, bringing showers and thunderstorms with it. Some of those storms could be severe.

Near record warm temps and high dew points combined with strong winds at all levels of the atmosphere, will make the air unstable Saturday evening and into the overnight hours.

The main threat for the Tri-state will be strong, damaging winds and large hail. Isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out, but the greatest threat for twisters will be to the west of the area.

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