Wind damage from a Tuesday afternoon thunderstorm forced thousands of residents in the Wabash Valley back into the dark ages.
Shortly before noon, a severe storm front hit Clay County with damaging wind, torrential rain and severe lightening. Afterwards, residents throughout the state were without power.
According to the Duke Energy website, more than 55,000 customers throughout the state and more than 7,000 residents in Clay County lost power due to the wind damaged from the storm. Most of the Duke Energy customers in Clay County had power shortly after 2 p.m., and the remaining customers were expected to be restored within a few hours.
Parke County REMC confirmed to The Brazil Times five of their substations (three in Clay County area) were damaged, causing 3,800 customers in the area to lose power and an additional 1,000 lost power because of trees and power lines blown down by the high winds. Officials believe most customers would have power back Tuesday evening or sometime Wednesday at the latest.
Without power for traffic lights in the city, motorists lined up along United States 40 and patiently waited to take their turn at intersections.
Officials at the Brazil Police Department confirmed only one minor accident involving property damage occurred in the city, while the Clay County Sheriff's Department worked a minor accident in the county during the more than two-hour outage. No injuries were reported.
Local parks and cemeteries throughout Clay County were also cluttered with fallen limbs. Due to extensive damage, officials announced Harmony Park would be temporarily closed so clean up crews could clear debris.
Many Brazil businesses closed without power, while others with generators -- like local nursing homes, St. Vincent Clay Hospital and the Clay County Justice Center stayed operational.
Operations at the Clay County Courthouse ground to a halt, as many employees waited for the power to come back on so they could use the technology necessary to do their jobs.
"It's amazing how much everyone has come to rely upon technology," Chief Prosecutor Kim Jackson told The Brazil Times while manning the phones at the Prosecutor's Office. "Right now the only things working are the phones."
Although there was a light caseload in the afternoon courts, without the use of computers and recording equipment, Jackson said one court proceeding would need to be rescheduled. However, she admitted if the power didn't come on soon there would be a scramble in the office to locate battery operated recorders for one court proceeding that needed to be done Tuesday.
"They've held court for hundreds of years without this technology," Prosecutor Lee Reberger said. "If the power doesn't come back on soon, guess we'll have to return to the good old ways."
Clay County Commissioners have the authority to decide whether or not to close the courthouse, but it was not in anticipation the power would be back on quickly.
"The people are here to do their job," Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout said while waiting in the dark with his staff. "But without any power for the technology needed to do the job or (lights) to be able to see to do their job, we can't have court."
Times Staff Reoprter Kimberly Gleason contributed to this report.