By Maggie Collett
Tornado sirens sounded through Winfield at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15. Resident assistants in dorms across campus pounded on doors, directing students to their designated tornado shelter. Once there, everyone settled in and waited for the storm to pass.
The damage varied from place to place. A section of fence fell on two cars in the Cole Hall parking lot. A tree was struck by lightning in the middle of campus, and branches and limbs were scattered across sidewalks and roads.
The power was knocked out. Cell phone batteries were quickly dying and wireless internet didn’t work on the laptops. Students made their way around campus with flashlights. Various groups came together for a surprising night of bonding over more than just Facebook wall posts and e-mails.
Ethan Pounds, computer science junior, said he stood at the top of the 77 and watched the storm roll in, then had to take cover in the basement of Christy Hall. Pounds said that he had been through storms like that before. “I’ve been through worse actually,” he said.
Pounds’ car was damaged by the storm. “It wasn’t too bad,” he said. “It was some hail damage and some small branches.”
Many students didn’t attend classes the following morning because of the power outage and the lack of internet. Pounds said, “Other kids thought there wouldn’t be class because of the damage around campus.” Pounds also said he wasn’t able to complete all of his homework.
Courtney Watson, psychology freshman, spent some of her night sitting in the basement of Cole Hall with the rest of the freshman women while the storm blew through. After they were allowed out of the building, Watson gathered outside Cole Hall with some other freshmen. “We played hide-and-seek,” she said. “I beat Jason [Dial] in light saber fights.” Watson met new people while she was outside. “I talked to Jack [Wimmer]. I’ve never talked to him before,” said Watson.
When the power went out, Robert Engel, marine biology junior, said, “I hung out in [the computer lab] and then went back to my dorm. We played Uno under the emergency lights.” When the emergency lights also went out, Engel said he watched a movie on his laptop.
Engel also didn’t get an opportunity to finish his assignments. He said, “I had some sketches that I couldn’t do because it was dark.”
Maggie Collett is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at email@example.com.