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No injuries were reported in Tuesday’s tornado

No injuries were reported in Tuesday’s tornado

The Kenco Management Services building, which handles logistics for Mead Johnson Nutrition, may have suffered the most damage from the tornado.

Evansville/Vanderburgh County Emergency Management Agency

The Kenco Management Services building, which handles logistics for Mead Johnson Nutrition, may have suffered the most damage from the tornado.

On Wednesday morning the weather was clear, allowing the start of a mammoth task: clearing the damage left by the tornado on Tuesday afternoon.

Black Township and Mt. Vernon were hit most directly, particularly the Mead Johnson distribution warehouse at Plaza Drive and Highway 62.

“The roof collapsed and several walls collapsed,” said Black Township Fire Chief Jay Price. “All employees in that warehouse are gone. We had a major gas leak here. We were able to shut it down and shut down all power and generator systems.”

Shortly after the tornado struck, police and firefighters directed traffic at the storm-battered intersection of Highway 62 and Plaza Drive just outside Mount Vernon. First Bank employees waited for family members to pick them up if their vehicles were stranded in the parking lot.

Although there was some damage to homes at the Russel Mobile Home Park on Seibert Lane and other incidental damage, Price confirmed there were no injuries and the majority of the damage was to the commercial property.

The weather was blamed on Tropical Cyclone Beryl, which made landfall in Texas on Monday evening.

The tornado damaged the shopping center on Plaza Drive across from the warehouse, and debris is scattered in the flooded parking lot.

Carol Buttry's SUV was damaged by an unknown object as the tornado passed through the area on Tuesday.

Carol Buttry’s SUV was damaged by an unknown object as the tornado passed through the area on Tuesday.

Carol Buttry of Carmi, Illinois, was shopping at the Dollar Tree with her granddaughter when employees told them to seek shelter.

“So we ran into the bathroom,” she said. “And it was pretty bad because we could hear the lights flickering. And we could hear the tornado sweeping around the store.” She said it sounded like a “roar” around the building. “We could hear the roof falling off…” She said she never wants to do that again.

Some people who would likely experience a tornado again are from Ohio Valley Weather Watch. Zach Jennings, Matt Reneer and Jordan Steitler saw the tornado and tracked the damage on Plaza Drive. Their video can be seen below.
“First you saw the debris … it just looked like a very large tornado,” Jennings said. “You see all these vortices going around, so you can really see where it got intense.”

Video 09 July 2024, 16:18:47 (horizontal).mp4

The debris lies everywhere on the highway and in the parking lot.

Several trees were torn in half near the Mead Johnson building. Photos of a derailed train are circulating on the Internet.

It was a busy day for emergency responders, which included Mount Vernon Agencies with CenterPoint Energy and INDOT, and of course the Black Township Fire Department with Chief Jay Price, who was first on the scene.

He said his crews were on a medical call across town when the tornado struck. Their operations center also lost power, exacerbating the problem. Price said it was heartbreaking to see businesses and livelihoods being destroyed.

“They will now lose their jobs,” he said. “And as I said, ‘Thank God there were no injuries’ and everyone can go home. Things are always replaceable. But people are not.”

A look behind the mall on Plaza Drive. The Pay Less grocery store at the end sustained significant damage.

A look behind the mall on Plaza Drive. The Pay Less grocery store at the end sustained significant damage.

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