High winds, sirens and cell phone ringtones alerted Monmouth College students of severe weather last Friday. A funnel cloud was spotted a few miles outside of downtown Monmouth. No tornadoes touched down in the area. Strong winds caused power outages and damage, but no injuries were reported.
Trees were uprooted, the roof of the Metal Crafter’s building was blown off and a gas pump was blown onto a vehicle. Uprooted trees temporarily blocked Illinois Route 16. Jeff Rankin, Director of Communications at Monmouth College, has seen worse.
“It kind of hit fairly quickly and the severeness was over within a matter of minutes,” he said, recalling higher winds accompanying a storm two years ago.
The storm did give the school a chance to use its emergency notification system which includes recorded messages, text messages and e-mail notifications.
“I stated to my roommate that this type of weather is perfect for tornados. Not two minutes later the sirens in town went off,” said Monmouth senior Katie Setchell. Setchell was alerted to the storm by the emergency notification system as well.
“We all got texts and then our phones all rang shortly after with a recorded message telling us what was going on and what to do,” she said.
Still, Setchell’s night was not heavily affected by the storm.
“After the weather died down and the warning went away, a group of us drove to G-Burg for some B-Dubs,” she said.
The power outage caused the cancellation of a film as well as Monmouth senior Janie Buckley’s self-written and directed play. Buckley’s friends and family had travelled to Monmouth that day to see the performance.
“The power went out around 5:30 and went back on around 8ish, just long enough to ruin my play,” she said.
Knox students do not receive texts or recorded messages in the case of severe weather since it is not included in the emergency alert system. If a tornado is spotted, sirens will sound on campus. A tornado warning indicates that the conditions are right for a tornado. A tornado watch indicates that a tornado or funnel cloud has been spotted. In the case of a tornado, go to the lowest level of the building you are in.