No tornado in Perry County, storm experts say

The National Weather Service says it was straight-line winds, not a tornado, that damaged a Perry County home and brought down trees and utility poles near New Buffalo during Tuesday’s storm.

NWS investigators surveyed the damage in Watts Township this morning and determined the damage was caused by winds that reached 85-100 mph.

“There’s a lot of times when straight line winds cause more damage than a low-end tornado, which is typically what we see in this area,” NWS meteorologist Elyse Colbert said. “We don’t see too many tornadoes over an EF-0 or an EF-1.”

The strong winds severely damaged a home along Blacksnake Road and Huggins Road. Steve Collins said firefighters freed one of his teenage daughters from under some debris after their house partially collapsed.

Collins said the storm also blew away the four walls of his garage, and the garage roof was tossed to the back end of his property.

“(Insurance adjustors) are pretty sure that if a high gust of wind comes along like we had yesterday, the rest of the living room ceiling will come down,” he said. “There’s no question.”

The Red Cross is assisting Collins and his family while they look for alternative housing.

Anyone who needs water, food or other help can go to the New Buffalo Fire Company on Old Trail Road. Watts Township supervisors have also applied for a state disaster declaration to obtain additional aid for cleanup.

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