Storm damage reported at Westlake High School

By Lee Peck - bio | email

WESTLAKE, LA (KPLC) - Storms came through parts of Calcasieu Parish on Wednesday afternoon causing some damage at Westlake High School. The roof of the school's gymnasium was partial torn off as the boys and girls basketball team practiced on the courts below.

"It sounded like a big old train just crashing into something," said Donald Shillow, basketball player and upcoming Senior.

"We heard a really loud noise and we just all kind of freaked out because of all the lights turned off. Then we looked out the window and all you could see was wind - lots of strong winds and water coming really fast we thought it might be a tornado," recalled Randy Hesse, basketball player and upcoming Senior.  

An official with the National Weather Service says it wasn't a tornado, instead a wind event called micro burst with winds between 90 and 110 mph.

Luckily no injuries were reported. In addition, the press box at the stadium was also destroyed.

Some power poles fell and some of the cars parked at the school were also damaged - at least one car was found overturned. Both Hesse's and Shillow's vehicles were damaged by a fallen electrical pole.

"It's bad man - I just pray to God I can get a brand new truck. I wish for the best," said Shillow.

For Head Football Coach Max Caldarera all the damage is a reminder of what happened five years ago. "It's like Hurricane Rita all over again. You'll remember the roof came off we had to rebuild, now the press box," said Caldarera.

Calcasieu Parish Schools Superintendent Wayne Savoy has canceled the last day of classes for Westlake High School students, but says faculty and staff should remain on standby and will be notified by 8 a.m. Thursday on when they should report back to work.

"Some of the issues we have will be electricity of course and then once everything starts coming on we will start assessing the damage inside the buildings," Savoy.

Savoy also noted that though part of the gym is exposed to the elements, the original roof is still covering most of the gym from water damage.

Meanwhile caution tape remains up and authorities on guard overnight due to the dangerous debris that is still scattered across the parking lot.

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