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Tornado strikes Town of LaGrange

It’s been a full week and there is still plenty of evidence of the storm that spawned a tornado that struck the Town of LaGrange.

Just after 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 1, a severe thunderstorm hit LaGrange, leaving fallen trees, crushed cars, and damaged buildings. The storm also killed one man near Big Long Lake.

According to reports, a large tree fell on a home at Big Long Lake, killing 64-year-old Larry Davisson. Stroh firefighters were called to the house when Davisson’s wife was unable to find him. They later found him dead beneath the tree inside of the house. (A full obituary for Davisson is on page 2 of today’s LaGrange Standard.)

Later in the day, the National Weather Service (NWS) surveyed the damage done in and around LaGrange and determined that an EF-1 tornado had touched down on the north side of US 20 west of the town limits and traveled east before angling northeastward at Hostetler Tire. It crossed Townline Road south of Grant Street, moving across Sherman before leaving the ground as it reached Grant Street.

Several trees were uprooted or snapped off along the path, damaging several homes.

The damage done by the storm wasn’t limited to just the path of the tornado. Parkside Elementary School had the upper portion of an exterior wall on the south side of the building pulled down by the high winds. The school also had multiple large branches snapped off and scattered around the grounds.

Factory Street west of Detroit Street was closed for several days following the storm as crews worked to clear several large trees that fell in the area, crushing a car and taking down power lines. There was also significant damage done on Mountain Street south of Factory Street, with a fallen tree crushing another car.

North Street saw a line of damage. A barn along Townline Road was pushed over by the high winds and crushed a pickup truck parked nearby.

Elsewhere in the county, wind damage was sporadic. Delt Church County Park took a hit, losing several trees.

The storm left most of the Town of LaGrange without power, along with other scattered areas throughout the area. Power was restored to most of the town by Wednesday, with some areas waiting until the end of the week to see power back on.

The LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department reported that it took hundreds of calls from 1 a.m. Tuesday through early Wednesday morning, including 144 calls for service

The department also released information later in the week concerning the lack of a tornado siren on Tuesday, noting that the siren is activated when the NWS issues a tornado warning or a funnel cloud is spotted. Neither of those things happened, and therefore sirens were not activated.