GATLINBURG - Strong winds have caused significant damage to the Gatlinburg-Pittman High School roof Thursday, but all students are safe.
Dr. Debra Cline with Sevier County Schools said all students were kept inside in a safe location. No outside activities were allowed at any of the schools in the Gatlinburg area because of high winds.
Parents were encouraged to pick their children up early from the high school, Pittman Center Elementary School and Pi Beta Phi Elementary School. Kids whose parents could not pick them up were transported him by county-owned four-wheel drive vehicles.
All three schools lost power.
"The safety of our students has remained the highest priority throughout the school day," said Cline in a press release.
All three Gatlinburg schools will be closed Friday as a result of the wind damage. All other Sevier County schools will open one hour later.
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Sevier County Schools officials said the power went out at the High School early in the afternoon as winds up to 70 miles per hour were being reported in the Smokies.
The power also went out at Pittman Center Elementary School. Pi Beta Phi Elementary School lost power for a time, but it was restored.
The winds knocked over trees on cabins and tents at Camp LeConte near Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.
A Red Cross shelter has been set up at the Pigeon Forge Community Center, 170 Community Center Drive, for anyone affected by the power outages.
The wind is also challenging fire crews who are also working a 30-acre brush fire in the Gatlinburg-Pittman area.
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