Lee Talk Radio
Storm damage in Lee County causes significant damage to schools and businesses
PENNINGTON GAP, Va. — Damage assessments are underway in Lee and Dickenson counties after severe storms rolled through the area.
Representatives with the National Weather Service have determined an EF-1 tornado touched down in the Duffield area.
But the damage survey is still underway in Pennington Gap.
Crews were busy today at Elk Knob Elementary School in Pennington Gap which sustained significant damage to its roof and flooded three rooms inside.
It's just a big wind storm that come through there and got it.
Part of the roof blew off at Elk Knob Elementary School which damaged multiple solar panels in the process.
It's going to need a whole new roof completely, from the inside up," says transportation director David Sampson. "It'll be very expensive.
The school will remain closed Thursday as repairs continue.
Meanwhile, the strong winds also impacted local businesses where employees are now working to pick up the pieces.
Those strong storms rolled through the region Wednesday evening, downing trees and utility lines with the brunt of the damage in Scott and Lee counties.
The Westgate Mall in Pennington Gap sustained significant damage. Business owners and employees tell News 5, they're shocked by the damage.
It's just unbelievable because you don't really see that stuff in this area as much," says employee Shane Collins. "You hear about it occasionally as something will touch down here and there.
I looked out my window, everything was sideways," adds employee Ryan Warner. "And there it was.
Collins says he first saw the damage on social media before he left his home.
I was in the lower end getting ready for ball practice, and we looked up toward Pennington and it was just black.
Though pieces of the shopping center's awning were scattered all around the building, Warner says he was relieved when he went inside.
I went in and checked on our stuff and thought maybe the roof had caved in or something, and we would've had damage inside," adds Warner. "But surprisingly nothing was damaged and we're really happy about that and nobody was hurt, which is the most important thing.