While it's never good for a school to be damaged, Carthage School District officials are counting their blessings after the first severe thunderstorm of 2017 rolled through town early Wednesday morning.

While it's never good for a school to be damaged, Carthage School District officials are counting their blessings after the first severe thunderstorm of 2017 rolled through town early Wednesday morning.
Strong winds on the leading edge of a line of storms that passed through the region around midnight Tuesday night and Wednesday morning tore the roof from the gymnasium at the Carthage Middle School building at Centennial Avenue and River Street. The good fortune — the school is unoccupied as the district prepares to renovate it over the next couple of years to turn it into the Carthage Junior High.
Fifth and sixth grade students and the staff of the Middle School were moved to the new Carthage Intermediate Center over Christmas break.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Mark Baker said security camera footage shows the damage happened at 12:06 a.m. At that time, Carthage and the surrounding area were under a severe thunderstorm warning for a strong storm moving east at about 65 miles per hour and packing hail, high winds and rain.
“The wind apparently came out of the south and picked up the roof, then came out of the south and pushed it off the east side of the building,” Baker said. “There was a lot of debris, but we're lucky it didn't spread around the neighborhood.”
The debris consisted primarily of styrofoam insulation and the rubber coating on roof surface.
Baker said the district has contacted its insurance carrier and a contractor to cover the roof until permanent repairs can be made.
He said the damage won't affect the renovation plans which are being finalized at this time.
Baker said final weekend of a youth basketball season, hosted at the former middle school by the Fair Acres Family Y and planned for Saturday, will have to be moved to a different school gymnasium.
The gym roof was damaged in a similar manner in about 10 years ago. Baker said no other damage was reported to district facilities.

Carport damaged
Mike Whitehead and his wife, Stephanie, were listening as the storm approached their home at 10488 Gum Road, east of Carthage. They heard the winds pick up, then the power went out.
“My wife said she heard a loud roar,” he said. “She looked out and said the carport was gone. Something hit the roof and gouged up some of the shingles. It just really made a mess.”
Whitehead said the damage happened shortly after midnight.
On Tuesday, the Whiteheads had an electrical contractor onsite replacing their pole and service.
Carthage Water and Electric Plant Electric Inspector Elvis Castor these two incidents were the most severe in CW&EP's service area.
He said the storm blew in with strong winds leading the way and rain and hail falling behind the wind.
Commenters on the Carthage Press Facebook page provided scattered reports of damage.  
David Diehls reported a garage that collapsed in the wind about 17 miles east of Carthage on Highway 96.
Tom Whiteman reported significant hail at the Malfunction Junction trailer park south of Carthage in Fidelity.
No one was reported injured in the storm.