At deadline today—or what would have been deadline—the Chesterton
Tribune was without power, following a rush-hour storm which gusted
through Duneland but absolutely rampaged south of here.
At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, NIPSCO was reporting 11 outages in Duneland
affecting 1,411 customers, many of them in and around the Downtown.
NIPSCO was also reporting, however, 132 separate outages in the greater
Valparaiso area and fully 5,550 customers there in the dark.
Territory-wide, a total of 64,052 customers was juiceless at mid-morning.
In Kouts, 769 customers. In Westville, 688. In LaPorte, 1,706. And many
thousands in Lake County.
Despite the multiple blackouts here, Duneland largely dodged a bullet,
Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg said. “It was a big line
of storms. But the closer it got to us, the red (on the radar) began
turning to orange and yellow. We lucked out.”
Maybe half a dozen large branches, both private and public, were shaken
loose from trees, Schnadenberg noted, and those “will contribute to our
cleanup” from last week’s late-night storm. But though the morning skies
went eerily black—think eclipse—there wasn’t enough rain to cause any
flooding and by and large Chesterton escaped unscathed.
A large willow tree did fall in a yard in the 100 block of West Porter
Ave.—in fact, it looks as though it was simply uprooted—but it apparently
missed the home only a few feet away.
In Porter, Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer gave much the same
account of things. “We’re okay,” she said. “Some power outages. A tree
down at Mineral Springs and Howe roads. It took out a power line. But
otherwise we’re okay.”
Center and South County, on the other hand, were less fortunate.
David James, assistant superintendent of the Porter County Highway
Department, was reporting a “plethora of trees down,” wires as well, and
numerous roads closed, including Ind. 8.
“We got slammed down here,” James said. “Most of Kouts is without power.
In places the trees look like a picket fence that had just been blown
over. Wind shear for sure. From Division Road south, we got really
slammed, excluding the Town of Hebron, which looks like it missed the
brunt of it.”
The REMC appears to have gotten the worst of it too, James added.
“NIPSCO’s busy too but my guys are calling in more REMC pole numbers than
NIPSCO pole numbers.”
“It’s going to take a couple of days to get this mess cleaned up,” James
Sgt. Larry LaFlower, spokesman for the Porter County Sheriff’s Police,
told the Tribune that the 911 Dispatch Center was inundated this morning
with calls about trees down, across roads, on vehicles, in homes. So far,
he said, there have been no reports of injuries.