Thunderstorms and tornadoes plowed through central Indiana on Wednesday, leveling a Starbucks shop in the city of Kokomo and knocking out electricity to thousands of Indianapolis-area homes, but no injuries were immediately reported, authorities said.
The National Weather Service issued a bulletin saying a “confirmed large and extremely dangerous” tornado had struck near Indianapolis, the state’s capital and largest city, and was headed east.
The Weather Service also reported that a Starbucks coffee shop was demolished in Kokomo, a city of 45,000 people about 60 miles (97 km) north of Indianapolis, but said there were no immediate reports of injuries.
AccuWeather reported that two severe thunderstorms had produced tornadoes, one just northwest of Indianapolis and the other in the Kokomo area, which according to media reports appeared to have borne the brunt of the storms.
Television station WLS-TV in Chicago, an ABC News affiliate, reported that at least five tornadoes had struck Indiana, hitting the towns of Kokomo, Arcana, Geneva and Crawfordsville, but said there were no indications of serious injuries.
Local television station WTHR reported that in addition to the flattened Starbucks, a tornado had caused substantial damage to a shopping mall.
Footage posted on the station’s website showed a dark, swirling storm with flashes of lightning as cars passed by along wet roads in the area.
Photos posted on social medial showed homes with siding ripped off and scattered debris in yards. Another photo showed a barn reduced to rubble.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, tweeted: “Keeping Hoosiers and first responders in our prayers as dangerous weather moves through Indiana.”
More than 22,000 customers were without power north of Indianapolis, Duke Energy reported on its website. Another utility, the Indianapolis Power and Light Company, said roughly 11,000 customers were without electricity in the afternoon.
Howard County emergency management and sheriff’s office officials said they were gathering information on the extent of damage in the area and whether there were any casualties.
The county issued a state of emergency to remain in effect until 9 p.m. EDT.
“Please avoid any areas affected by the tornadoes – do not drive to look at damage – allow emergency crews to do their work,” the county tweeted.
Tornado warnings were issued before 3 p.m. local time as a storm moved through Boone and Montgomery counties, including Crawfordsville, a city of some 16,000 residents about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Indianapolis.