shelter sign Examples of Storm Damaged Schools

May 20, 2013 - Moore, OK (Several schools). Courtesy of NWS Norman, OK

  • An EF5 tornado swept through Moore, OK hitting several schools in its path. Several children were killed at one elementary school near the end of the school day.

May 19, 2012 - Council Bluffs, IA (Heartland Christian School)

  • The school lost part of its roof from severe thunderstorms.

May 2, 2012 - Blair, WI (Elem. and High Schools). Courtesy of NWS La Crosse, WI.

  • A line of storms (bow echo) produced wind damage to roofs at both the elementary school and the high school.  Parts of the roof over the gym and commons were peeled back and school was cancelled for a few days.

April 3, 2012 - Forney, TX (Crosby Elementary School) Courtesy of NWS Dallas/Fort Worth.

  • The most intense damage associated with this EF3 tornado occurred in the Diamond Creek subdivision northeast of Forney. As the tornado moved north-northeast it produced damage primarily to the roof of Crosby Elementary school. There were also several vehicles damaged in the schools parking lot, one of which was lofted approximately 300 yards away from the school and found in a field to the northeast. No fatalities or serious injuries were reported with this tornado.

March 2, 2012 - Henryville, IN (Henryville Elementary, Middle, and High Schools)  Courtesy of NWS Louisville.

  • An EF4 tornado struck the south buildings of the Henryville Middle and High School complex, with severe damage and 170 mph winds. The middle school experienced the worst damage. The cafeteria was completely destroyed. Two school buses were ripped off their chassis. Students had been released before the storms hit with about 40 still in the buildings.  The elementary school was also heavily damaged.

March 2, 2012 - Wolfe County, KY (Wolfe County High School). Courtesy of NWS Jackson, KY.

  • Large hail punched holes in the roof and caused millions of dollars in damage, along with severe damage to buses.

February 29, 2012 - Smithville, TN (DeKalb Middle and High Schools).  Courtesy of NWS Nashville.

  • Just south of a tornadic thunderstorm, an intense rear flank downdraft caused considerable straight-line wind damage, with exterior and roof damage noted to the DeKalb Middle and High Schools in Smithville, and many more trees being blown down in other areas.

May 23, 2011 - Hempfield Township, PA (Hempfield High School) Courtesy of NWS Pittsburgh.

  • The bus garage was damaged before an EF2 tornado ended up hitting Hempfield Senior High School. The scoreboard was knocked down along with several light posts. Extensive damage also occurred to their football stadium.

May 22, 2011 - Joplin, MO (10 schools) Courtesy of NWS Springfield.

  • One of the deadliest single tornadoes in history damaged or destroyed 10 of Joplin's public schools, including the high school.

April 23, 2011 - Ryland, KY. Courtesy of NWS Wilmington, OH.

  • An EF1 tornado briefly touched down and caused minor damage to the elementary school. Peak tornadic winds were estimated at 95 mph.

November 22, 2010 - Rockford, IL. Courtesy of NWS Chicago.

  • A school bus was hit in the Rockford School District.

September 16, 2010 - Powell, OH (Olentangy High School). Courtesy of NWS Wilmington, OH.

  • A portion of the roof was peeled off the gym from wind gusts around 70 mph.

June 17, 2010 - Wadena, MN (Wadena-Deer Creek High School). Courtesy of NWS Grand Forks.

  • An EF4 tornado struck Wadena High School heavily damaging the school along with nearby school buses.

June 15, 2010 - Maysville, KY (Mason County School). Courtesy of NWS Wilmington, OH.

  • Wind gusts of nearly 80 mph caused damage to the school.

June 5, 2010 - Wood County, OH (Lake Township High School). Courtesy of NWS Cleveland, OH.

  • An EF3 tornado struck the school causing significant damage.

January 10, 2008 - Caledonia, MS. Courtesy of NWS Jackson, MS.

  • An EF3 tornado struck the school destroying the gymnasium and a number of school buses. The school complex had 1900 people in it at the time of the tornado but only 3 injuries were reported.

January 6, 2008 - Avenal, CA (Avenal High School). Courtesy of NWS Hanford, CA.

  • Widespread roof damage occurred at Avenal High School due to high winds. Peak winds estimated at 70-75 mph.

August 26, 2007 - Northwood, ND (Northwood Public School). Courtesy of NWS Grand Forks.

  • A medium to large tornado struck Northwood the Sunday before school was to begin for the 2007-08 year.  Although Northwood was an EF4 tornado, the storm was probably producing EF2/EF3 damage at the school with total destruction. 

May 30, 2007 - Wilmington, OH (Wilmington High School). Courtesy of NWS Wilmington, OH.

  • Wind gusts of 55 to 60 mph caused roof damage.

March 1-2, 2007 - Enterprise, AL (Enterprise High School). Courtesy of NWS Tallahassee, FL.

  • An EF4 tornado struck the high school at Enterprise, AL. The tornado was first observed on the ground at the Enterprise Municipal Airport. About five minutes later, after briefly lifting, it slammed into the Enterprise High School killing eight students and injuring at least 50. The fatalities occurred when a concrete wall collapsed onto a group of students huddled in the hallway in a crouched position. The football stadium was severely damaged.

May 9, 2006 - Childress, TX (Childress High School). Courtesy of NWS Lubbock, TX.

  • The Childress High School sustained significant damage to one of the schools two gymnasiums. The tornado and associated damaging wind and flying debris impacted the school and penetrated the west facing brick wall of the older gym, forcing a 66 foot wide breach. As a result, significant damage occurred inside the gymnasium. Four large air conditioning units were also destroyed. Three of the units were blown off the roof of the school, and two of them were blown from southeast to northwest, landing 90 to 200 feet from the school. The path width of the tornado was measured at one tenth of a mile and rated an F1.

June 6, 2005 - Endicott, NY (Charles F. Johnson Elementary School). Courtesy of NWS Binghamton, NY.

  • Wind gusts to 70 mph tore the roof off the Kindergarten wing of an elementary school. Luckily students had been evacuated from the area BEFORE the storms struck because the school had and used a NOAA weather radio which gave them early lead-time based on a warning from the local NWS office.

April 6, 2005 - Mize & Brandon, MS (Mize High School). Courtesy of NWS Jackson, MS.

  • A tornado damaged walls and blew the roof off Mize High School. An early warning from the National Weather Service (lead time of 55 minutes!) prompting quick action - none of the 650 students or faculty in the school sustained injuries. Another high school under construction in Brandon, MS was also damaged.

February 21, 2005 - Dickson, TN (Dickson County Senior High School). Courtesy of NWS Nashville, TN.

  • Straight line winds estimated around 90 mph damaged the school and bleachers.

May 22, 2004 - Hallam, NE (Norris High School). Courtesy of NWS Omaha/Valley, NE.

February 24, 2004 - Robstown, TX (San Pedro Middle School). Courtesy of NWS Corpus Christi, TX.

  • Strong winds tore parts of a roof off.

September 2, 2002 - Gilman, WI (Gilman High School). Courtesy of NWS La Crosse, WI.

  • An F2 tornado hit the high school on Labor Day 2002 tearing the roof off. Strong winds blew through the hallways, like a wind tunnel, blowing out doors and ripping ceiling tiles out. The football team was at the school, but had moved indoors as the storm approached. A weather radio was locked in the school office since it was a holiday. The twenty minute warning lead time was minimized to a minute or two after local officials spotted the tornado forming.

April 28, 2002 - Cypress, IL (Cypress Elem. School). Courtesy of NWS Paducah, KY.

  • An F3 tornado directly hit the school but since it occurred overnight (1:30 a.m.), there were no school related casualties.

May 28, 2001 - El Paso County, CO (Ellicott Junior-Senior High School). Courtesy of NWS Pueblo, CO.

January 21, 1999 - Beebe, AR (Beebe High School). Courtesy of NWS Little Rock, AR.

  • A significant tornado hit the high school about 30 minutes after an on-going basketball game had been cancelled due to impending severe weather. The decision to cancel the game was made due to monitoring of weather conditions, including NOAA Weather Radio. The gymnasium would have had 200 to 300 people in it, but had been cleared due to swift and smart action by the school superintendent.

May 31, 1998 - Antrim, NH (Great Brook Middle School). Courtesy of NWS Taunton, MA.

June 5, 1995 - St.Marys, GA (Crooked River Elem. School). Courtesy of NWS Jacksonville, FL.

  • An F1 tornado, spawned from a feeder band of Hurricane Allison, struck a school during the early morning hours (before school) destroying several portable classroom buildings.

April 8, 1993 - Grand Isle, LA (Grand Isle High School). Courtesy of NWS Slidell, LA.

  • A waterspout moved onshore (becoming a tornado) and hit the school causing one fatality on the second floor. The wood frame structure was heavily damaged.

August 28, 1990 - Plainfield, IL. Courtesy of NWS Chicago/Romeoville, IL.

  • An F5 tornado hit Plainfield High School one day before classes were to begin. The football team was practicing on the field and the volleyball team was in the gym. The football coach ordered the team indoors because of lightning. They all survived. A custodian and teacher were killed though. The tornado also severely damaged a Catholic school and an elementary school but there no students in either building. The elementary school was rebuilt with zig-zagging hallways (no long straight wind tunnels), and lots of safe interior spaces.

November 16, 1989 - Newburgh, NY.

  • A downburst blew in windows, doors, and a cinder block wall of a school cafeteria killing 9 children and injuring 21.

May 4, 1978 - Clearwater, FL (Highpoint Elem. School). Courtesy of NWS Tallahassee, FL.

  • A tornado struck during a school day killing 3 children and injuring nearly 100 others. Property damage totaled close to $4 million.

January 10, 1975 - Summit, MS (Pike Elem. School). Courtesy of NWS Slidell, LA.

  • Two buses were thrown 25-50 yards into a nearby forest, but luckily they were empty at the time.

April 21, 1967 - Belvidere, IL. Courtesy of NWS Chicago/Romeoville, IL.

  • School busses had picked up students from the elementary school and stopped at the high school to pick up more. An F4 tornado struck the high school as students boarded buses. A total of 16 buses were tossed or rolled killing 11 children and injuring 140. There were no fatalities in the school building itself.

May 6, 1965 - Fridley, MN (Hayes Elem. School). Courtesy of NWS Minneapolis/Chanhassen, MN.

1925 Tri-State Tornado. Courtesy of NWS Paducah, KY. Roughly 58 kids were killed in two schools the same day.


Last Updated: 5/21/13 - tjs


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