Tornado tears through Dubois County, IN

By Maira Ansari - bio | email

CELESTINE, IN (WAVE) - The National Weather Service says and EF-2 tornado tore through the small Dubois County community of Celestine early Feb. 28 packing winds up to 120 miles per hour and leaving a path of destruction behind.

Most of the damage was on Ellsworth Road. Roofs were torn off homes, trees were uprooted, and crews were busy working on downed power lines. Nicole Schnell was in her basement when the tornado ripped through her home around 3:30 a.m.

"You see all this stuff on TV and never think it's gonna happen to you that's for sure," said Schnell.

Schnell's home sits on the top of a hill on Ellsworth Road. The damage the tornado did was unimaginable. Her friends and family are helping her pick up the pieces while she carried away something the tornado didn't take away - her wedding dress.

Down the street from Schnell, an RV sits in the side of a garage, trees are uprooted and crews were busy working on downed power lines. People were also busy moving things out of a house that had a roof torn off.

"It was fast, we got up the lights went out and it was pretty much over," said Melody Thewes.

Thewes says she got lucky, her home wasn't touched by the tornado.

"Like everyone says about a tornado it will hit this one miss this one and that's what it seems like the way it went," said Thewes.

April Blessinger lives two doors down from Thewes. She was moving out after the tornado plowed through.

"My husband woke me up and it was just noisy," said Blessinger. "Next thing you know we're jumping down the crawl space underneath the house and it just hit."

The front of Blessinger home caved in, then the inside collapsed. Despite all the damage, she's counting her blessings.

"It's just things, it's just things," said Blessinger. "That's all that matters."

Several residents told us they did not hear warning sirens go off. Officials at the Dubois County Communication Center say sirens didn't go off because they only have only two dispatchers who were swamped with phone calls. They added by the time the National Weather Service gave them the green light to sound the sirens, the tornado was already over the area.

The Red Cross has set up shelter for those who need help.

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