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NWS: Jay County EF2 tornado destroyed homes, farms, killed cattle

Portland Police Chief Josh Stephenson shared photos of damage after a tornado in Jay County. (Provided Photo/Chief Stephenson)

BRYANT, Ind. (WISH) — An EF2 tornado with wind speeds as high as 130 mph hit Jay County north of Portland on Friday, near the town of Bryant, damaging homes, destroying farm buildings and killing cattle, the National Weather Service said Saturday.

A strong thunderstorm developed over southern Adams County on Friday afternoon and quickly intensified, becoming supercellular as it turned right into northeast Jay County. The tornado developed around 3:50 p.m. roughly 3 miles southeast of Bryant and quickly strengthened to an EF2, moving east-southeast. As it moved, it left several homes and farmsteads damaged or destroyed and knocked down a 100-foot-tall communications tower, according to the NWS summary released Saturday.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale or EF Scale, in use since 2007, is used to assign a tornado a rating based on estimated wind speeds and related damage. Its uses three-second gusts estimated at the point of damage based on a judgment of eight levels of damage against 28 indicators. The NWS is the only federal agency with authority to provide official tornado EF Scale ratings.

Map of the path of the tornado through Jay County on June 18, 2021. (Provided Image/NWS)

The tornado weakened briefly as its parent storm turned hard right; then the tornado “reintensified into a multi-vortex” 500-yard-wide EF2, hitting several more farmsteads, damaging homes, destroying farm buildings and killing several cattle, the NWS said.

The parent storm and tornado both weakened after that. The tornado lifted and dissipated in an open field about 8 miles southeast of Bryant, the NWS said.

The tornado’s path covered 5.23 miles, and no injuries or deaths were reported, according to the NWS.

Portland Police Chief Josh Stephenson on Friday night shared photos and drone video of damage believed to be caused by the tornado. And Portland Mayor John Boggs told News 8 on Friday that some trees were knocked down and some homes were damaged in the city.

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