Students seek shelter during severe storm

Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT: Storm damage is seen here on Lindbergh Boulevard in Sunset Hills, Missouri, Friday, December 31, 2010.


(Webster Groves, March 3, 2011) Unseasonable severe weather came through the St. Louis area Sunday night, causing disruption for students living on campus.

As per emergency procedure, when a tornado warning was issued around 11 p.m., students were alerted to the dangerous weather and encouraged to seek a safe location.  Webster Village Apartment residents were asked to go to a lower level if possible and stay away from windows in a bathroom or hallway. Those in the residence halls were recommended to go the lowest level, away from windows.

“Most of West Hall was in the pool (table) area,” said Julian Keaton, a freshman audio major.  “Me and my roommate and a few friends felt, for our best interest, to go to the bathrooms.  We talked about things, talked about dealing with tornados in the past — a couple of us were from tornado alley.”

Justin Frederic, assistant director of Housing and Residential Life, was on call Sunday night.  Frederick heard the storm, and after seeing a warning on TV, made the call for RAs to alert students.

“Sirens aren’t designed to be heard inside so just making people aware is definitely something we want to do,” Frederick said.

The National Weather Service put out the official tornado warning, and Public Safety informed Housing and Residential Life.  Students were then encouraged to seek a safer location.

“Some of the students tried to stay in their room — if they make the choice not to go I can’t force them,” Megan Wetzel said.

By 11:50 p.m., the all-clear was given to RAs, and students were sent back to their rooms.

This was the third tornado warning issued during the school year, but the previous two occurred during the Thanksgiving and winter break, when fewer students were on campus.  Frederick and Wetzel both said most students were cooperative, and no damage was done on campus.

“You’re always going to have students that want to go outside and watch it, but when people heard the location and the path (of the tornado), they took it seriously,” Frederick said

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