A severe thunderstorm swept in from Lake Michigan with high winds and large hail, moving docks, scattering lumber across railroad tracks and leaving thousands of homes and businesses without power.
Some injuries were reported in the county, but LaPorte County 911 Assistant Director Beth West said she did not have details.
Coast Guard instruments measured winds of up to 92 mph late Wednesday.
Docks were moved at a Lake Michigan marina where a boat show was scheduled to begin Thursday, but most of the yachts and boats were safely harbored nearby, The News Dispatch reported.
“It was intense. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Roscoe Serrells of Charlevoix, Mich., who rode out the storm on a boat.
In Westville, wind scattered a lumber company’s entire stack of wood across railroad tracks, West said.
About 22,000 customers lost power, mostly from Gary to about 30 miles east in LaPorte, a utility official said. Trees were down, and crews were faced with repairing many broken utility poles.
Funnel clouds were reported midway between South Bend and Gary, but the National Weather Service was not able to immediately confirm that the storms touched down.