Weather Stories

89-year-old woman dies in Fort Wayne storm with record wind speed

Trees and power lines are scattered on a road after storms on June 14-15, 2022, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. (Photo Provided/Indiana Michigan Power)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WISH) — An 89-year-old woman died in Monday’s overnight thunderstorms that produced a derecho in Fort Wayne, the Allen County Coroner’s Office said Thursday.

Janet M. Howell was in her home when storms passed through the northeastern Indiana city. She was found about 2:10 p.m. Tuesday at the home in the 5400 block of Mason Drive. That’s southwest of downtown Fort Wayne between Ardmore Avenue and Bluffton Road.

Emergency crews found Howell will a severe cut from glass shattered in the storm, says a news release from Michael Burris, chief investigator for the coroner’s office. She was taken to a local hospital’s operating room, but died from “sharp forced injuries due to shattered glass during storm.” The cause of death was termed accidental.

Howell was the only death in the storm.

The storm also left about 22,700 customers of Indiana Michigan Power without electricity on Tuesday. On Thursday afternoon, 6,250 remained without power.

The National Weather Service of Northern Indiana says a Monday night derecho in Fort Wayne broke the city’s high wind record. Gusts hit 98 mph at 10:39 p.m. Monday at Fort Wayne International Airport. The former record for the city was 91 mph on June 30, 2012.

A derecho is a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms, according to the weather service.