SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – A tornado briefly touched down on the Winona High School football field at 10:36 a.m. on Monday, the Smith County Fire Marshal said.
The Winona ISD Police Chief saw the tornado touch down and the school was briefly placed on lockdown but is back up at its regular schedule. Fire Marshal Jay Brooks said he had reports of four houses being damaged, as well as power lines and minor damage to the high school.
“We had some minimal flying debris that hit some of our outlier facilities, our greenhouse and another storage building that we have. Our school’s structures appear to be unharmed,” said Winona ISD Superintendent Damenion Miller.
Miller told KETK News that they had less than two minutes to get everyone into a position of safety and they “followed protocol to a tee.”
The National Weather Service – Shreveport said the tornado had moved out of the area.
Smith County Precinct 4 Constable Josh Joplin said the tornado took down the fence perimeter of the city water tower, completely destroyed a modular building and threw football equipment from the football field into a nearby pasture. A portable building was lying in the middle of Johnson Road.
“This probably is the only one I’ve seen that’s done this amount of damage in a short amount of time,” Constable Josh Joplin said.
He said the tornado seemed to have spun up on Johnson Road, traveled across the Winona HS football field, over to Hussey Circle and moved north towards Big Sandy. He said there was quite a bit of damage in the Hussey Circle neighborhood.
“More than all we’re thankful that everyone was safe,” said Miller.