Monroe County tornado demolishes barns, trees, billboard in Ellettsville

Monroe County tornado

ELLETTSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — A tornado with winds up to 135 miles per hour touched down Saturday night in Monroe County, the National Weather Service said.

No injuries were reported, according to local authorities.

The powerful storm destroyed at least two homes and damaged dozens of structures.

At least seven homes sustained “major” damage, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said.

Broken utility poles, tree limbs and other storm debris remained strewn across roads and yards Sunday afternoon in Ellettsville, a town of approximately 6,500 people in Richland Township.

Sheets of metal from a wind-battered billboard along State Road 46, near Flatwoods Road, lay in a crumpled heap near a family’s driveway.

The homeowner, Diana Scroggins, said it was the first tornado she had experienced in her 33 years in Ellettsville.

“This is the first and I hope it’s the last,” she told News 8.

Scroggins was returning from purchasing her weekly lottery ticket when she spotted a dark funnel cloud heading in the direction of her home.

“A policeman turned on his lights and pulled over,” she said. “I flew around him, flew in my driveway, ran in the house and yelled at my husband to get to the basement.”

The two sheltered downstairs “just in time,” she added.

Their house sustained relatively minor damage — a shattered glass door and a leak in the roof — while other structures along Flatwoods Road appeared to be total losses.

Scroggins said she watched as the tornado swallowed barns and trees less than a quarter of a mile from her home.​​​​​​​

“We saw it hit the neighbor’s barn and it just went ‘Pffft!’ and it disintegrated,” she told News 8. “I saw sparks and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s going to be on fire.’ And then when it hit the other barn up here, [it was] the same thing. Just poof and it disintegrated… There was no fire. I guess it was just the electricity [that caused the sparks].”

Utility crews shut down Flatwoods Road and raced to secure downed power lines Sunday afternoon as Scroggins spoke with News 8.

Several live wires landed steps from her home; one power line was draped across her roof and side deck. ​​​​​​​

Scroggins had yet to check her lottery numbers but said she, her husband and their two dogs — Buzz and Woody — were “lucky to be alive.”​​​​​​​

Brandy Denny, a lifelong Ellettsville resident, had the unique “luck” of encountering two sets of tornado warnings in a single night.

At least eight tornadoes touched down Saturday night in Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.

Denny was in Spencer, approximately 10 miles northwest of Ellettsville, where an EF1 tornado uprooted trees and caused mass power outages.

“My daughter was stuck down here [in Ellettsville] on Mt. Tabor Road where another one hit,” she said.

She rushed home as hail pelted her car and arrived in time to see the EF2 tornado make landfall in Ellettsville, Denny told News 8.

“I looked over and there was a funnel cloud getting ready to touch down in the field,” she recalled. “I love storms. I’m always saying, ‘We never get good storms.’ Well, this was a little too good for me.”