INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It was an unforgettable day in central Indiana 20 years ago on September 20, 2002. A few tornadoes hit the state, but a long F3 tornado was the most memorable. This tornado traveled 112 ground miles through central Indiana before lifting in Hartford City at 3:20 p.m. The path passed through the south and east sides of the Indianapolis metro area. For most of the tornado’s life, it was obscured by rain and embedded in a line of showers and storms.
Remarkably, this tornado remained on the ground for 2 hours and 21 minutes with peak winds over 160 mph. Ellettsville, Martinsville and Greenwood are the areas where the tornado reached F3 intensity. Below is a radar image of the tornado once it entered the eastern portion of the Indianapolis metro area.
Significantly, the tornado warning used the wording “tornado emergency” for the Indy metro area. This is the only tornado emergency for the metro area since they became part of the warning system in 1999. A total of 130 people were injured by the tornado and it caused $156 million in property damage.
September isn’t usually one of the busiest months for tornadoes in Indiana, but this month in 2002 shows that it can’t hurt to be always prepared. Video of the damage caused by the September 20, 2002 F3 tornado can be seen below.