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April 20, 2011

Tornado confirmed in Jeffersonville

Thousands left without power; former church severely damaged

JEFFERSONVILLE — A mobile home park and a former church were struck by tornadoes in Jeffersonville early Wednesday morning as part of a line of thunderstorms that stretched from Central Indiana into Kentucky, the National Weather Service confirmed.

About 20 to 25 trailers were damaged at Sunset Mobile Home Park, at 2323 Charlestown Pike, although no fatalities or serious injuries were reported. The tornado also hit the First Church of God, at 3311 Holmans Lane, completely blowing out the south wall of the building.

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Roy Francis, 80, lives in the mobile home park and remained there with his wife as the tornado damaged homes and uprooted trees around him.

“There was just a loud noise. It was like a rushing wind,” Francis said. “Then the electricity went out.”

Francis said he had no idea how much damage there had been until he went outside after the storm. Some of the siding was torn off his home and the deck was damaged.

Pam Rogers, 56, went to stay with a friend when she heard the tornado sirens. She said she had been watching the forecast and was prepared to leave.

After the storm passed through, she went home to check the damage. With trees across the roads and down power lines, what usually is a 10 minute drive took her 45 minutes.

“It wasn’t a pretty picture when I got home,” she said.

A utility pole was knocked down a few feet from her porch and her window was broken, but she was spared more serious damage. She believes her truck would have been damaged if she had remained.

Daryl Bohannon, 49, had encouraged his 79-year-old mother Kathy to stay with him during the storm. At first, she said she wanted to remain at home because she left during previous storms that turned out not to be as severe as predicted.

“I told her, ‘Better safe than sorry,’” Daryl said.

After the shingles were torn off her roof and some of the siding damaged, he believes she will more readily agree to stay with him during the next storm.

Bohannon said he spoke to one woman who had a slight shoulder injury from the tornado.

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