LaGrange school damaged by storms

LaGrange, IND. (WANE) Residents in LaGrange continue their clean up from Tuesday’s storms.

The National Weather Service did confirm an EF-1 tornado in LaGrange with winds estimated to be 95 miles per hour, but one side of town saw equally significant damage from a non-tornadic part of the storm.

Parkside Elementary suffered heavy structure damage one side of the school. Crews were already busy working away to fix the problem damage. Although an EF-1 tornado did go through LaGrange, what happened here at Parkside, wasn’t wasn’t a tornado.

“It scared the devil out of me,” LaGrange resident and neighbor to Parkview Elementary Dale Picker said.

Dale’s house which is just feet away from the heavily damaged Parkview Elementary went untouched.

“How that could happen over there and not do damage here, or next door, I just can’t understand,” Picker said.

What damaged the school is known as a microburst. Microbursts occur when rapidly sinking air from a thunderstorm hits the ground and violently fans out at severe speeds. The National Weather Service estimated those winds that damaged the school to be around 70 miles per hour.

We reached out to school administration about the damage but didn’t receive a call back. But On the Lakeland school corporation website, administration released this statement:

“During the storms of July 1, 2014, Parkside Elementary sustained structural damage to one wall. No long term concerns are anticipated and repairs are underway.”

While the school is under repair, the rest of the city is cleaning up.

LaGrange town planner Marc Eagleson said there’s a lot more work to do, but he considers the city lucky and the elementary school situation even luckier.

“Considering it was a tornado that went through town, it could have been a lot worse,” Eagleson said. “We didn’t lose any lives. We’re fortunate it was during school. There weren’t anny children there. It was an elementary school, so it would have been smaller children. It could have been really devastating.”

The city still had hundreds without power Wednesday afternoon, but much of it has been restored since the storms hit early Tuesday morning.

As crews continue to clean up the mess at Parkside, administrators are confident everything will be ready to go by next school year.

 

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