severe weather stock

Jon L. Hendricks | The Times Portage - A severe thunderstorm front rolls through a Portage farm field just south of U.S. 6 Monday, June 21, 2010.

Jon L. Hendricks

GARY — A narrow line of severe storms packed a punch as it ripped through northern sections of the Region on Friday night, downing trees and power lines and causing outages.  

Contrary to some social media reports in Gary, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service said Saturday there is no indication that a tornado touched down in the city Friday night.

“There was a real, narrow line of storms with severe straight line winds. The environment was unfavorable for (a tornado),” meteorologist Ben Deubelbeiss said. “We had stable, cooler conditions north of the warm front yesterday.”

At the Gary airport, the NWS measured wind gusts of up to 54 miles per hour, Deubelbeiss said.

In Munster, multiple trees were reported down Friday night along Columbia Avenue and Ridge Road, according to the NWS.

Power lines were reported down near Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Portage. Tree limbs fell onto a house in Portage, too, Deubelbeiss said.

A large oak tree about one foot in diameter fell onto a telephone pole and shattered the pole at Grand Boulevard and Miller Avenue in Gary, according to reports.

About 6,300 NIPSCO customers in Gary, Hammond, Lake Station, Portage and Munster lost power Friday night, the result of the high winds and severe storms that swept through parts of the Region.

About 707 customers — most of which were in Gary — were still without power as of 2:30 p.m. Saturday, according to NIPSCO’s online outages map.

The city of Gary issued a news release Friday night, urging caution near downed power lines and trees. 

Fire officials report the storm hit hard in the city's Midtown, Miller and Aetna sections.  In Miller, a utility pole was downed and the Marquette Park Pavilion lost power. Buildings and vehicles suffered damage in Midtown. 

Sunday’s forecast includes cloudy skies with a stray severe thunderstorm possible and a high of 71. By Monday afternoon, skies will turn to partly cloudy with a shower or thunderstorm possible and a high of 77.  

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Public safety reporter

Lauren covers breaking news, crime and courts for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet covering government, public policy, and the region’s heroin epidemic. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.