ELKHART — As the clock passed midnight and the calendar changed over to July overnight Monday, a rare meteorological fact was ushered in just ahead of a strong line of storms that swept through northern Indiana.
While weather experts consider June and July as prime time for tornadoes, the National Weather Service did not issue a single tornado warning for June in 2014.
That changed at 12:04 Tuesday, July 1, when the weather service issued the first of seven tornado warnings for northern Indiana, according to Courtney Obergfell, a meteorologist with the weather service in North Webster.
There have only been three or four occasions in the past several decades when Northern Indiana didn’t have at least one tornado warning issued during the month of June, Obergfell said.
The turbulent weather included winds in excess of 60 mph and was blamed for a death in Winona Lake, where a tree fell on top of a mobile home and killed a boy, and a death in Lagrange County when a 64-year-old man was killed by another fallen tree. The strongest recorded winds were 68 mph.
As of noon Tuesday, the weather service had not confirmed any tornadoes had touched down, but a survey team was still assessing damage in parts of Elkhart County — including an area west of Goshen — before making any final conclusions, she said.
Despite the lack of tornado warnings in June, the region has seen numerous thunderstorms and plenty of rain in the past four weeks.
In fact, June was excessively wet. Rainfall for the month, according to readings taken in South Bend, totaled 9.14 inches. That’s five inches above normal for the month, Obergfell said, and it ranks as the second wettest June on record.