Straight line winds of up to 60 mph hit Howard County Wednesday afternoon, downing some trees and powerlines that caused temporary power outages, as well as building damage at a major local business and youth athletic field.
Manufacturing operations at Haynes International, Inc. sustained roof and side paneling wind damage, according to John Patterson, senior manager of human resources. The buildings south of West Defenbaugh Street were damaged.
Fortunately, no one was injured at the plant, Patterson said.
“We were blessed,” he said.
Wednesday’s storms were hyped up to be possibly as bad as Friday’s storms that brought high winds and tornadoes across the state, three of which struck rural Howard County, damaging houses, pole barns and seriously injuring one person.
But what transpired Wednesday was not nearly as bad.
No tornadoes nor injuries were reported in Howard County, the National Weather Service told the Tribune. Any damage, the NWS said, could be attributed to straight line winds of up to 60 mph.
The Kokomo Police Athletic League Field was hit by the storm’s winds.
The roof of the PAL’s main office building was partly blown off by the wind. Parts of the roof’s insulation rolled around the property’s field and parking lot — akin to tumbleweed — Wednesday afternoon.
The pole barn situated in between the soccer fields and football field was also heavily damaged by high winds, and its south wall partially collapsed. Bleachers were also badly damaged.
The property was similarly damaged in 2016 by the Aug. 24 tornado that hit Kokomo.
While Wednesday’s damage wasn’t caused by a tornado, it was still deja vu all over again for Mark Snodgrass, director of Kokomo PAL.
Snodgrass was in the office building a little before noon when he heard that the storm was approaching Kokomo. He decided it was best to leave and go home. Just some 20 minutes later, he received a call that the PAL’s office roof had been torn off.
“I thought ‘No, not again, not again,’” Snodgrass said.
The PAL’s youth soccer league starts in May. Snodgrass said there is no plan to delay the season. Whether or not that happens depends on how quickly cleanup is and how many volunteers the league can get to help.
“If we can get some type of cleanup and get all the equipment that we need to get this off the ground in the next four or five weeks, we’ll be fine,” Snodgrass said.
The city’s west and south sides appear to have received the brunt of the storm’s wrath. At the peak, more than 400 households on the city’s west side and in Indian Heights were without power, according to Duke Energy’s outage map. By 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, power had been restored to all but six county households.