'We saw a part of the gym fly across the window:' Classes canceled after roof collapses at Sampson Co. school

Posted January 13, 2020 4:20 a.m. EST
Updated January 13, 2020 10:26 p.m. EST

— Parts of Johnston, Duplin, Sampson and Wayne counties were under a severe thunderstorm warning Monday afternoon as high winds and lightning battered communities including Goldsboro, Faison and Mount Olive.

At Union Intermediate School in Clinton, a spokeswoman said, part of the roof over the gymnasium collapsed, injuring three students. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the roof collapse, but the National Weather Service recorded a "water-loaded microburst" over the school at the same time, and there were severe thunderstorms in the area.

The spokeswoman emphasized that the students' injuries were minor, but they were sent to Sampson Regional Medical Center to be checked out.

“I’m just glad everyone’s OK,” said Megan Roberts, whose friend had three children at the school. “Hopefully they’ll be able to move on and rebuild.”

The school will be closed on Tuesday for students and 10-month staff members, district officials said on Facebook.

KayDen McLaurin, a 10-year-old fourth grader, said she and her classmates were watching the storm through an open classroom window.

"We saw a part of the gym fly across the window. I was scared," she said. She saw three girls going out on stretchers.

Interior damage at Union Intermediate Middle School in Clinton

There was not an active tornado warning in the area at the time of the roof collapse.

Monday's storms were the most severe in the forecast, but mild temperatures and wet weather will stick around for the first half of the week.

WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said showers could be lighter during the evening commute and around 7 p.m., but rain will continue overnight.

The rain will carry us into Tuesday, which will be even warmer, with a high around 70 degrees. Tuesday will be also cloudy with rain likely all day.

Things get a bit drier by Wednesday, which cools off only to the upper 60s. Rain will be lighter on Wednesday, but still prevalent, with our best chance for dry weather coming Thursday and Friday.

7-Day Forecast

Thursday will be in the 60s before highs drop back into the 50s for Friday and the weekend.

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