EF-3 tornado damages school and power substation in Laurel

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LAUREL, Miss. (WJTV) – Schools were closed in parts of Jones County on Tuesday following the severe storms on Monday.

In Laurel, the EF-3 tornado damaged the Nora Davis Elementary School and a power relay station.

“As you can see, there’s great devastation here at this school,” said Lacey Slay, Laurel Public School District. “Thankfully, the school only houses roughly 40 students. So, we’re currently working right now on a plan to relocate those students so that they continue their education.”

The tornado hit the school around 5:30 Monday evening, according to neighbors.

“At first, I was going to hit the floor. But I tried to hit the floor from the bed, and my leg got caught in the covers. So, I finally got up and I just thought, ‘We’ll if it’s my time to go, then it’s my time. That’s how bad it was. It was terrible,” said Troy Wolverton, who lives across the street from Nora Davis.

Mississippi Power was on the scene just hours after the storm. One of its substations is located next to the school.

“Well we had a tornado come through last night. Tore the roof off the school, and a lot of the debris got into the substation on the distribution side and took out our substation. So, we’ve been working all night trying to get that back on again,” said Jason Belt, Mississippi Power.

There’s no word on when the power will be restored to the Laurel area. The tornado also damaged the city’s historic district.

The Laurel School District said all schools will be closed on Wednesday, December 18, 2019. Students will return to the school on Thursday, December 19, 2019. Friday’s 60% day will now be a full school day.

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