Kathleen Middle Remains Closed For Tornado Cleanup From Nestor

Oct 21, 2019

Cleanup continues at Kathleen Middle School in Lakeland, two days after a tornado spawned from Tropical Storm Nestor ripped through Polk County.

Photos posted on the school’s Facebook page on Saturday show a large portion of the roof blown off the school as Nestor raced through the Tampa Bay area Friday night, producing strong downpours and powerful, gusty winds.

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Other photos show portions of ceiling panels and insulation strewn about classrooms beneath the exposed roof, and debris strewn across the school grounds.

Debris is strewn across a classroom at Kathleen Middle School in Lakeland after a tornado from Tropical Storm Nestor blew off a portion of the school's roof. KATHLEEN MIDDLE SCHOOL/FACEBOOK

The school will remain closed on Monday and Tuesday as cleanup and damage assessment continues, school officials said. It will reopen “as soon as we can have students and staff in a safe learning environment,” according to the school’s Facebook post.

On Sunday, the school launched a GoFundMe page to collect money to assist with restocking school supplies damaged by the storm, including textbooks.

According to the post, more than 10 classrooms, and office space, sustained significant water damage.

The tornado also damaged several homes and downed trees throughout Polk County, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and the storm knocked out power to several thousand people.

"Thankfully, we have not had any reported serious injuries," Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. "However, there are many people dealing with damage to their homes and property this morning, some of it severe."

Nestor also produced a tornado that caused damage in a mobile home park in Seminole, according to the National Weather Service.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

A tornado from Tropical Storm Nestor blew off a portion of the roof at Kathleen Middle School in Lakeland. KATHLEEN MIDDLE SCHOOL/FACEBOOK