BEDFORD, Ind. (AP) - A tornado ripped through southern Indiana Wednesday night, sending several people to the hospital with injuries and flattening homes and other structures in its path, authorities said.
Tyler Earl, a dispatcher with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department, said the tornado created a "wide damage path."
"We have injuries. We're requesting as much help as possible," Earl said.
The Indiana State Police reported in a news release that at least a dozen people were being treated from storm injuries and several structures were damaged east of Bedford.
Roxana Oliver, a spokeswoman for the Bedford Regional Medical Center, said the hospital is treating patients injured in the storm who came to the emergency room for treatment, and the hospital has ambulances that have been dispatched to the storm scene.
She did not know how many patients had come to that hospital or have details about their injuries.
WISH-TV in Indianapolis reported the storm then moved toward the Columbus area, about 40 miles south of Indianapolis.
The National Weather Service in Indianapolis issued a storm report at 8:17 p.m. EST saying an amateur radio operator reported the tornado was about nine miles east of Bedford.
The tornado occurred as powerful thunderstorms swept across Indiana, damaging buildings, toppling trees and cutting power to thousands.
The weather service said baseball-sized hail and wind gusts of up to 70 mph were earlier reported in Greensburg. Video from WTHR-TV showed roofs ripped off hangars at the Greensburg airport and a large silo damaged in the community about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis.
Indiana utilities reported more than 12,000 customers without power Wednesday night.
The weather service also posted a flash flood watch for the Fort Wayne area after the city received 2.39 inches of rain, a record for the date.
Nearby Kosciusko County received nearly an inch of rain in less than 30 minutes.
The weather service extended a tornado watch for much of the state through early Thursday.
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