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03/24/2012

Incredible Views of Henryville High School during the EF-4 Tornado.

It's rare to get a glimpse inside of a destructive tornado.  It's even more rare to get multiple views of such a storm, but in the case of the March 2nd Outbreak, that is exactly what occurred when Henryville Highschool took a direct hit by a violent EF-4 Tornado! Security cameras at the school caught the event from upclose and from many different angles.  

Take a look at these before and after snapshots from a security camera located in the Boys Gymnasium.  The first image was taken just before the storm struck and the second one a minute later.

Henryville HS before and after

Here's a full two minute video of the destruction of the gym as it occurs.  (The time on all these videos is located on the upper left.)  The power goes out, the emergency lights come on and then notice the roof lifting at 3:15:12 PM, just before the south facing wall explodes as the tornado arrives.     

 


This is a look down the office hallway out the main doors from inside the school.  (Again, the time is listed at the top left part of the video and the storm strikes shortly after 3:15 PM)  Notice how the doors fly open from the inside just before the power goes out.  This is likely caused by a compression wave occuring as the storm strikes other parts of the building.

 


This is the side loading area located on the east side of the school.  Did you see the bus being lifted up right as visibility ends?  

 


Here's a view from the roof down at the courtyard area near the cafeteria.  I'm thinking the picnic tables must have been anchored down pretty good.

 


This is what it looked like down a hallway near the middle of the school.  Notice how the camera becomes unhinged and swings in all directions giving a panoramic view of the debri. 

 


This is a shot looking towards the playground on the west side of the storm.  After a fierce blast of wind flattens trees and rips off the roof, you'll see the wind shift direction at 180 degrees between 3:15:10 and 3:15:15 as the vortex passes over head.

 


This is the northeast parking lot.  In the background, unbelievably, you'll see traffic along Hwy 31 trying to get out of the way of the approaching storm.  Be sure to pause the video at the beginning of this clip and you'll see a white suv heading north away from the storm and a dark colored compact going towards it.  Fortunately for this guy, he did a quick U turn (out of view here) to get out of the path of the storm.  You see him moments later darting in the other direction.    

 


This is a look at the roof on the west side of the school.  You'll see huge chunks of roof ripped up right in front of you.  You'll also notice the shift in wind direction as the vortex passes overhead.

 


This is the front parking lot where two buses had just unloaded students to take cover only a few minutes before the storm arrived.  Notice the bus on the far side of the parking lot.  That is the one that ended up in the diner across the street.  You'll also notice traffic inlcuding a bus beyond the parking lot traveling along Hwy 31 in the final moments before the tornado's arrival.  At about 3:15:07, you can see that dark colored compact make his U turn! 

 


This is a clip from a security camera mounted on the northwest face of the building.  Notice the gym door flys wide open just before the collapse of the wall the camera was mounted to.

 

In spite of all the destruction seen in these videos and despite the fact that there was a number of students, teachers and faculty present at the time, miraculously, no one was killed at the school.  

 

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Comments

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Kuddos to the schools in Kentucky and Indiana for calling school early that day because if they didn't make that call then those hallways could have been filled with children.

I hope the next time there is such a large threat the school systems make the same call again.

Only you can decide how much time you're allotted before the guest thinks you're fabulous!

This is scary. But they really made the right call.

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