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Tornadoes strike Howard County, Red Cross opens shelter for victims

HOWARD COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – A state of emergency was issued for Howard County Wednesday evening following eight tornado touchdowns.

The National Weather Service has stated the preliminary rating was an EF-3 in Kokomo and an EF-1 east of Crawfordsville.

There were no serious injuries reported. According to Indiana State Police, approximately 15-20 people suffered minor injuries, with most occurring due to flying debris. State Police credit working emergency systems alerting residents to the dangerous weather as a big reason for the lack of injuries.

Officials said between 300 and 800 people were displaced. Howard County Emergency Management and the Red Cross have set up a shelter for tornado victims at the Kokomo Event Center, located at 1500 North Reed Road. The shelter will be open all night for anyone who needs a place to sleep. Food and water are also available.

Dozens of people arrived at the shelter in buses shortly shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday.

According to a social media post by the Kokomo Schools Superintendent, school has been cancelled for Thursday, August 25.

Officials said that a tornado traveled along Boulevard Street, south of Markland.

According to Howard County officials, nine funnel clouds were confirmed by law enforcement, although they noted there could be more.

One house was destroyed in Russiaville.

Governor Mike Pence is expected to tour the area Thursday.

A Starbucks in Kokomo sustained severe damage as a result of the storms in central Indiana Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Howard County Dispatch, the Starbucks located in the 1400 block of South Reed Road in Kokomo was heavily damaged.