(MADISONVILLE, La.) — According to local ABC affiliate WGNO-TV, an “extremely rare tornado emergency” caused a tornado to touch down in Madisonville near Pine and Highway 22, sending St. Paul’s School into an state of alertness.
“We haven’t been able to get any reports of damage right now,” St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister said to WGNO in a phone interview. “(But,) we’re looking at reports on the tornado moving towards Madisonville moving east to northeast, and we do have some large hail up in the Goodbee area, which is north also.”
Following the alert from the Parish President’s office to the School Board to shelter in-place, St. Paul’s followed suit. Utilizing the emergency procedures which are heavily practiced during September’s Safety Week and other random occurrences thereafter.
St. Paul’s Principal Trevor Watkins appeared on WOLF TV, the school’s video announcement program, around 10:40 a.m., and students filed along the hallway walls away from doors and windows for about 45 minutes. Students returned to their classes and then retired to lunch once the school was given the all-clear by Watkins. To accommodate the unexpected change in schedule, the administration allowed the lunch period to be expanded by about 15 minutes.
The storm’s dangerous, funnel-like spawn spared the campus, and little is known so far as to the current condition of the Madisonville area itself.
Numerous school clubs and athletic teams have cancelled their obligations for this afternoon. So far, these cancellations include: freshmen baseball, band, rugby, the SPS bowling game, tennis, ping-pong, and track.