Pastor Larry Richeson was headed back to the Indian Heights Grace Brethren Church in Kokomo, Ind., after running an errand to the local grocery story. He’d just passed the local Starbucks, maneuvering down the highway through pouring rain.
“I was watching the sky. It didn’t look like a typical incoming tornado,” he recalled. “Over the shopping center, it just looked like sheets of rain.”
He realized later that he had passed in front of what officials are now calling an EF3 tornado, which destroyed the Starbucks.
“When I looked in my review mirror, it was black back there,” he remembered.
At Richeson’s home in Russiaville, about 10 miles west of Kokomo, he said that a funnel cloud started at the treeline behind their house and moved east. “We could see debris swirling around,” he recalled.
He said members of the Indian Heights congregation have fared well. The tornado just missed the home of one family. Another woman had been on the north side of the city but had arrived home in the Indian Heights neighborhood before the storm hit.
“Everybody is safe,” reported Richeson. “The only problem now is that everyone [in the Kokomo area] is without electricity.”
For the time being, he says that officials are asking volunteers wanting to help with clean-up to stay away. “They are only asking for contractors and professional people,” he said. He said there is not much they can do at the moment, but he expects the Indian Heights congregation to help as needs become apparent.