UPDATED: Students, teachers survive reported tornado

Staff Report
Emergency crews on the scene at Baity Rd. following reports of a tornado touchdown. - Kitsey Burns Harrison | Yadkin Ripple
Courtney Elementary School gym sustains major damage due to a tornado. - Photos courtesy of Yadkin County Fire Marshal’s Office
Courtney Elementary School gym sustains major damage due to a tornado. - Photos courtesy of Yadkin County Fire Marshal’s Office
Courtney Elementary School gym sustains major damage due to a tornado. - - Photos courtesy of Yadkin County Fire Marshal’s Office

National Weather Service employees are in route to the Courtney area of Yadkin County this morning to study the path and damage caused by a reported tornado that touched down around 4 p.m. yesterday. National Weather Service staff is expected to confirm later today if the storm was in fact a tornado, based on their assessment of the area. The gymnasium at Courtney Elementary School was severely damaged by the storm. Mobile units and other parts of the school sustained some damage as well, said Yadkin County School Superintendent Dr. Todd Martin. Due to the damage Courtney students and staff are not at the school today.

Martin said there were around 35 people still at the school at the time of the tornado, including around 15 students and 20 staff members.

“They all sought shelter,” said Martin. “I cannot say enough about the job the principal did and the teachers and the after school employees. Everybody got to shelter, kept the kids calm and everybody walked away unscathed.”

Martin called the event “traumatic” and said those there at the time were shaken up by the situation, but no one was injured.

“When you have something like that happen at a school and there are no injuries whatsoever, you count your blessings,” he added.

The damage is being assessed today so that school officials can determine when students may return to the campus. Due to the power outage at Courtney Elementary, which is where the entire school system’s internet hub is based, all of Yadkin County schools are operating with access to the internet today. Martin said staff and students were notified of this last night and so far that has not caused any issues at the remaining school sites.

Yesterday’s storm wreaked havoc in the area knocking down trees and power lines. Several individuals were trapped in homes after trees fell on the homes and multiple roads in the area were closed yesterday evening.

Yadkin County Emergency officials are continuing to assess the damage this morning.

Additional details will be reported on the storm damage as soon as it becomes available.

Emergency crews on the scene at Baity Rd. following reports of a tornado touchdown.
https://www.yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_tornado-3.jpgEmergency crews on the scene at Baity Rd. following reports of a tornado touchdown. Kitsey Burns Harrison | Yadkin Ripple

Courtney Elementary School gym sustains major damage due to a tornado.
https://www.yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_gym-2.jpgCourtney Elementary School gym sustains major damage due to a tornado. Photos courtesy of Yadkin County Fire Marshal’s Office

Courtney Elementary School gym sustains major damage due to a tornado.
https://www.yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_gym1-2.jpgCourtney Elementary School gym sustains major damage due to a tornado. Photos courtesy of Yadkin County Fire Marshal’s Office

Courtney Elementary School gym sustains major damage due to a tornado.
https://www.yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_gym2-2.jpgCourtney Elementary School gym sustains major damage due to a tornado. Photos courtesy of Yadkin County Fire Marshal’s Office

Staff Report