Tornadoes in Indiana: What we know about damage in Winchester, Selma and Madison

Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in East Central Indiana and Kentucky left a wide swath of destruction Thursday night — flattening homes, injuring people and causing extensive damage in Delaware and Randolph counties. Here's what we know.

Did a tornado hit Winchester in Randolph County, Indiana?

Yes, an EF-3 tornado caused widespread destruction in Winchester, according to the National Weather Service, which confirmed the tornado Friday afternoon.

Earlier Friday, survey teams with NWS investigated damage caused by Thursday's storms in Winchester. The odds that a tornado touched down in the area were high, officials said.

Winchester, Indiana tornado caught on video

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Did a tornado hit Madison, Indiana?

Indiana Emergency Management Agency officials said at least two tornadoes touched down outside Madison, Indiana, around 2:30 p.m. — one in Hanover and a second in neighboring Switzerland County.

Have there been any reported deaths in Indiana?

As of 9 a.m. Friday, there have been no confirmed deaths in Indiana as a result of the storms, according to officials. While reports circulated Thursday that three people had died in Winchester at a trailer park near Ascension St. Vincent Hospital, officials have since said they have not confirmed any deaths.

So far, three fatalities have been reported in Ohio as a result of the storms.

'Thankful we're alive': Woman describes chaos as likely tornado destroyed Winchester church

Where did storms cause damage in Indiana?

Randolph and Delaware Counties suffered the most severe damage from the system that moved through Thursday evening, according to the Indiana Emergency Management Agency. Winchester in Randolph County and Selma in Delaware County are reporting serious damage and multiple injuries.

Officials on Friday morning said at least 22 homes were possibly destroyed, with damage incurred to more than 100 structures.

In the Selma area, as many as half of the structures in the town of about 740 people — less than four miles east of the Muncie city limits — had been damaged, according to an initial assessment.

Jefferson County also sustained significant structural damage, according to local emergency response officials.

How many people were injured in Winchester, Indiana?

During a Friday morning press conference attended by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Winchester mayor Bob McCoy said at least 38 people were injured, at least three possibly critically, but there were no reported deaths.

Winchester was "very lucky" McCoy said, all things considered. "I praise the lord for this one. It could have been really bad."

Thursday night's tornadoes along Greenville Avenue in Winchester became visible after sunrise Friday, March 15, 2024. The area was hit by tornadoes Thursday night, causing damage in Randolph and Delaware counties.
Thursday night's tornadoes along Greenville Avenue in Winchester became visible after sunrise Friday, March 15, 2024. The area was hit by tornadoes Thursday night, causing damage in Randolph and Delaware counties.

Has Indiana Task Force 1 been mobilized?

Indiana Task Force 1 crews were deployed and arrived early Friday morning to help with search and rescue efforts. More resources will be made available at the state and federal levels, Gov. Eric Holcomb said, and he expected even more help would come from neighbors throughout the area.

Winchester nursing home evacuated

Response crews on the ground in Winchester are reporting a nursing home was evacuated due to power loss and several residents were transported to nearby hospitals, along with other residents in the area, officials said.

Winchester Taco Bell obliterated

The Taco Bell restaurant in Winchester, at 951 E. Granville Pike, was leveled by the storm.

A Taco Bell is leveled after a severe storm Friday, March 15, 2024, in Winchester.
A Taco Bell is leveled after a severe storm Friday, March 15, 2024, in Winchester.

Officials are asking people to avoid the area

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is asking people to avoid the affected areas as officials work to assess the aftermath of the storm.

Downed power lines, trees, and debris pose significant risks to people's safety in Randolph and Delaware Counties, officials said. Officials said stretches of road west of Winchester on Indiana 32 have multiple utility poles down. AES Indiana is working to shut down power to ensure everyone's safety.

Where can people find emergency shelters in Indiana after the March 14 storms?

The Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter at Winchester High School, at 700 N Union St., in Randolph County.

In Selma, a "reunification center" has been set up at nearby Wapahani High School, at 10401 E Co Rd 167 S., to provide "assistance and support" to residents displaced by storm damage or who became separated from family members.

Selma Elementary is serving as an evacuation point for individuals who have damage to their homes, officials said. The school is located at 200 East St. in Selma.

Are schools closed?

All schools in the Randolph Central and Liberty-Perry School Districts are closed Friday. Winchester High School, closed Friday, had an enrollment of 414 students in the 2022-23 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

How can people help with Indiana tornado relief efforts?

Financial donations to help those affected in Winchester will be managed by the Community Foundation of Randolph County, McCoy said.

Financial donations on behalf of the Winchester community are also being accepted by Second Harvest Food Bank

Who should residents contact to report damage from the March 14 storms?

Residents of Randolph and Jefferson counties are being asked to contact Indiana 211 to report severe storm damage, officials with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security said, which will help IDHS determine damage estimates.

Both Randolph and Jefferson County residents can call 211 or visit the Indiana 211 website.

"Currently, only residents in Randolph and Jefferson County should utilize Indiana 211 for March 14, 2024, damage reports, IDHS said. "Other counties should reach out to their local emergency manager."

Officials said agricultural damage should be reported to Purdue Extension.

Where are Randolph County and Delaware County, Indiana?

Randolph County, east of Muncie, is in Central Indiana and borders western Ohio. Its population is more than 24,000 people, according to the latest U.S. Census.

Delaware County, which has a population of nearly 112,000 people, sits the west of Randolph County. Its county seat is Muncie, Indiana.

Where is Winchester, Indiana?

Winchester, Indiana is the county seat of Randolph County and sits 75 miles to the east of Indianapolis. It has a population of around 5,000 people, according to the 2010 Census.

This article will be updated.

Douglas Walker is a news reporter at The Star Press and contributed to this article.

John Tufts covers trending news for the Indianapolis Star. Send him a news tip at Follow him on X at @JTuftsReports.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: What we know about tornado damage in Winchester, Indiana