|10/24/2017 5:57:00 AM|
Storms Cause School Delays, Closures
The cleanup from Monday's storms continues Tuesday. A series of thunderstorms that likely included tornadoes ran northeastward from Cleveland County through Catawba, Burke and Alexander counties in the four and five o'clock hours Monday. A tornado warning was issued for Cleveland, Lincoln, Catawba and Burke after what appeared on radar to be a tornado was spotted near Belwood in Cleveland County. Later, a tornado was reported to have been seen by the public near Granite Falls just north of Hickory.
Damage included numerous trees and limbs and property damage to many buildings, although no injuries were reported. A tree on the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne University was among those toppled. Considerable damage was done to several light aircraft at the Hickory airport. There was damage to the L.P. Franz baseball stadium in Hickory. The Red Cross opened shelters in Caldwell, Wilkes and Watauga counties.
Because of the damage and some resulting power outages, the decision was made to delay the start of school in Catawba County, Newton-Conover and Hickory schools for two hours Tuesday morning. Cleveland County Schools will be closed for students with an optional teacher workday. Some Catawba County Schools were still without power late Monday night, so parents were advised to watch for possible further updates should they become necessary. While the majority of Catawba County Schools will operate on that two-hour delay,
Due to hazardous conditions from yesterday's storms, the St. Stephens feeder area schools will be closed Tuesday; this includes: Arndt Middle School, Clyde Campbell Elementary, St. Stephens Elementary School, St. Stephens High School, Snow Creek Elementary School, and Webb A Murray Elementary School. Those schools will have an Optional Teacher Workday. Certified employees may work from home or take an annual leave day.
Several other school systems further north and west from our primary coverage area will also have delays or be closed Tuesday. Lenoir-Rhyne University canceled all day classes Tuesday and Catawba Valley Community College canceled day and evening classes for Tuesday. In Catawba County, several roadways are still partially blocked by storm damage, among them Willis Road and Cooksville Road near the Lincoln-Catawba line.
Because of the extensive damage, the Catawba County Board of Commissioners declared a State of Emergency. The declaration, we are told, enables Catawba County Emergency Services to implement coordinated response and recovery efforts in all affected unincorporated areas of the county in alignment with the Catawba County Emergency Operations Plan and in collaboration with emergency response partners.
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