A major storm system hit Clay County Tuesday evening, which sent emergency response personnel scrambling out into the elements to attempt to clean up the damage.
Around 6:30 p.m., damaging winds, blinding rain and, in some areas, hail arrived in Clay County.
According to WTWO Meteorologist Jesse Walker, the storm system had one of the lowest pressure readings ever recorded at the station located on United States 41 South in Farmersburg, Ind., approximately 11 miles south of Terre Haute.
"We have recordings of the winds being up to 70 mph in this storm," Walker told The Brazil Times. "That will definitely take out some trees and utility poles."
Fallen trees and broken utility poles (including power, phone and cable poles) were reported to 911 dispatchers at the Clay County Justice Center throughout the county.
"Hats off to the county firefighters," Sgt. Dan Best said about how county fire departments were put on standby before the storm's arrival.
Members of Van Buren, Dick Johnson, Posey, Cory and Jackson Township volunteer fire departments joined the Clay County Sheriff's Department, Indiana State Police, area town officials and state/county highway workers to hit the roads in a grid pattern to check for damage and report downed trees and utility poles, but most of the heavy damage was reported in an area between County Road 600 North and CR 800 N.
A section of State Road 59 between CR 600 N and CR 700 N was closed for more than an hour to northbound traffic while officials attempted to clear the road of storm debris and live wires down from broken utility poles.
A section of Harmony Road (CR 200 E) between CR 700 N and CR 800 N was closed because at least two utility poles were snapped off at the tops and live power wires were on the ground.
Traffic was also diverted by officials around two other areas of heavy storm damage from trees, one near CR 200 E and CR 750 N and the other at CR 800 N and CR 200 W.
According to the Duke Energy website, more than 36,000 Indiana residents experienced power outages during the storm, with 1,200 reported in southern Clay County.
Although some Clay County residents experiencing power outages were Parke County REMC customers, The Brazil Times were unable to contact the company before press time to confirm the number.
A portion of the westbound lane of United States 40 was closed near the Staunton flashers due to a vehicle sliding off the road into a ditch. No injuries were reported.
By 8 p.m., temperatures dropped and snow began to fall across the county as officials continued to clear roads and respond to new weather related emergency calls.
Shortly after 8:30 p.m., county emergency response personnel were dispatched to a vehicle slide off near the 17-mile marker on Interstate 70. No injuries were reported.
"All the rain is freezing and it is incredibly slick," Best told The Brazil Times in a cell phone interview at the scene of the accident.
"We have numerous slide offs. It's really bad out here."
As the temperature continued to drop into the lower teens, causing wind chills to drop as low as minus 10 degrees throughout the night, Walker said today's forecast would be mostly sunny but much colder.
"Temperatures are expected to be in the 20s, but it will still be breezy with low wind chills," Walker said, then confirmed another storm is expected to hit parts of Indiana and Illinois later this week.
"A major winter storm will move our way late Thursday and last into the first half of Friday,"?Walker added.
Depending on the path of the storm, Walker expects the storm to have a decent amount of snowfall, with the possibility of some ice mixed in with snow.
"Snowfall could be heavy but it's too early to give amounts," he said. "The snow should end by Friday afternoon, but it will be enough that travelers can expect it to be difficult to travel."