A line of strong thunderstorms and damaging winds ripped though Baton Rouge and the campus of LSU on Wednesday night. The storms caused widespread power outages throughout the city, although power was quickly restored to the LSU campus.
Strong winds ripped off a portion of the roof on the $31 million indoor practice facility, forcing football coach Les Miles to cut Thursday’s practice short when lightning and rain returned Thursday afternoon. School officials covered the practice facility turf with tarps to prevent the rain from damaging the artificial turf. LSU plans to have the building repaired sometime next week.
The new Alex Box Stadium, home of the LSU baseball team, also sustained damage to the fencing along left and center fields. Repairs will require major work, but officials are confident that the stadium will be ready for Friday night’s game against Ole Miss.
Lighting was first thought to be a concern when a portion of the outfield lights refused to come on. LSU officials say that Friday night’s game will go on as scheduled, claiming that the surrounding lights will be adequate for play.
The new Tiger Park, home to the LSU softball team, also received wind damage to the outfield fence. Thursday’s game against Mississippi Valley State was cancelled because the padding all around the outfield wall had been ripped off. The stadium will be repaired before the Lady Tigers return to action in Tiger Park on April 4.
The LSU Soccer Complex looks to have sustained the most damage. The grandstands and press box were toppled and destroyed along with a large portion of the soccer bleachers. Most of the 1,500 seats were found lying upside down in the middle of the soccer field on Thursday morning.
Several buildings around campus sustained damage, including several busted-out windows in the chancellor’s office and a female dormitory. Approximately 50 vehicles were damaged from falling tree limbs and heavy winds, including broken windshields and numerous dents.
A second round of heavy thunderstorms moved across the Baton Rouge area on Thursday night. A possible tornado caused damage in St. Amant, a small community just southeast of Baton Rouge. More thunderstorms are expected overnight on Friday, making way for a clear and sunny—but cooler—weekend.
Other athletic facilities including Tiger Stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center appeared to have weathered the storms without damage. LSU has not yet released a monetary amount of the damages.