KERSHAW COUNTY, S.C. - An EF-2 tornado touched down in Kershaw County in South Carolina Saturday, hitting a local high school hard.
Clean up is now underway after the powerful twister and winds tore North Central High School apart.
The tornado ripped through the area and the district says with the damage at the high school they're down, but because of community support they're not out.
"When I walked through it was like a war zone. I couldn’t believe all the damage. We haven't seen something like this in a long time,” said Jason Ross with the South Carolina State Guard.
Ross is a commander for the second battalion of the SC State Guard. He couldn't believe his eyes as he pointed out to me just some of the damage to the school.
Piles of debris, broken windows and for some, a shattered reality were all that was left behind.
"It’s extensive damage. We probably won't have school here until next year," said Doug Bouling with Kershaw County Schools.
The school now roped off by yellow tape to keep contractor workers in and students out as the work to assess the damage continues.
"We're going in and trying to salvage as much equipment and data as we can so we can move it to our alternate location,” Bouling said. "This is going to be a long recovery. We're going to have a significant amount of refurbishing. Some of it might have to be torn down and rebuilt,"
For many in the community, seeing the destruction is heartbreaking.
"Something like this is a big blow to the community,” Ross said.
Many say despite the devastation, the community has rallied behind the students teachers and district.
"We've gotten support from all over Kershaw County we're thankful no kids were in the building as bad as it is. We will recover,” said Bouling.
The district says it’s in the process of turning another building into a temporary high school for the students and that they will have class as scheduled on Wednesday.
"We're working together. It’s one team and one fight.”