What remained of a home destroyed by a tornado in Holton Friday afternoon.
Mike Perleberg-Eagle 99.3
(Holton, Ind.) - The tornado that claimed two lives and injured six other people in Holton was packing winds up to 140 MPH, the National Weather Service said Saturday.
The EF3 twister touched down in the western Ripley County town on U.S. 50 at about 3:53 p.m. Friday, according to the weather service's preliminary report confirming the twister.
Meteorologists are still working to determine the exact path of the tornado and how long it stayed on the ground.
The tornado appeared to have swiped northeast across U.S. 50 into a collection of homes in Holton. Some buildings were able to withstand the violent winds while mobile homes and utility poles were obliterated.
Killed were Ron Pickett, 59, of Holton, and Armando Hernandez, a 20-something Mexican resident who was visiting family in Holton.
The death toll continues to rise from an outbreak of 95 tornadoes that hit the Midwest yesterday.
The Kentucky Department of Public Health says the number of confirmed dead in that state has risen to 17 Saturday.
That brings the total number of people reported killed to at least 35.
Fourteen people are reported dead in Indiana, while Ohio reports two killed.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is deploying the National Guard to deal with the destruction.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was visiting the hardest hit areas in southern Indiana Saturday.
Speaking in Henryville, about 15 miles north of Louisville, Daniels said he plans to ask for federal disaster emergency aid and believes the state will bounce back.
"We can't restore the horrible loss of the families who have suffered fatalities, but we know how to rebuild," he said.