Preliminary report: Tornado touches down at Highland County school during summer basketball camp

LYNCHBURG, Ohio -- Students at a Highland County school's summer basketball camp got quite the scare when a violent storm rushed by campus Wednesday afternoon.

Later Wednesday night, the National Weather Service issued a preliminary report that said the storm was in fact an EF-0 tornado.

Fire officials found a light pole bent in half when they arrived to Lynchburg-Clay High School, along with broken trees, a blown out door and a piece of twisted metal outside the school.

Inside the building, the storm brought down a light fixture and some ceiling tile.

Lynchburg-Clay teacher and coach Matt Carsey was leading the basketball camp in the school's gymnasium just after 4 p.m., when witnesses said the funnel cloud touched down.

"There was just a loud noise, almost kind of like thunder but it wasn't thunder," Carsey said. "We knew it was over top of us."

He said the students were scared, but managed to keep their cool.

"Adolescents, you know, they're gonna be a little freaked out about this kind of stuff," Carsey said. "But they stayed calm and people acted accordingly. We kept the situation calm."

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Despite damage to Lynchburg-Clay's gym and property, no one was hurt.

"Thank God we didn't have any injuries," Dr. Shane Shope of the Lynchburg-Clay School District said. "I had a couple people tell me maybe they saw a funnel cloud. I'm not going to confirm that but we know we had some strong winds."

Shope said children at the school were able to shelter in place, which was his biggest concern.

Just across the street, resident Jennifer Wiley took her son to the bathroom to hide during the storm's peak. Strong winds ripped a tree apart, and tore shingles away from her roof.

"It was very loud and it was raining. It was scary," Wiley said. "My husband told me to go hide in the bathroom so I took the little one and we hid in the bathroom for a half hour and he just told me to wait there until he got home."

The superintendent evaluated Lynchburg-Clay's damage Wednesday evening, and found it was structurally safe and sound. Students will return to class Thursday.

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