Strong weather raises alarm

By Linda Alberty

Students in all residence halls except Grant Towers were told to seek shelter during Tuesday evening’s tornado warning, hall directors said.

Student Housing and Dining procedures state that during a tornado warning, residents should be moved by the residential live staff to the safety of a basement.

As of press time, Grant Towers Hall Director Kelly Jordan declined to say why she did not order residents to take cover. Grant Towers is home to about 2,500 students.

The storm system was tracked southeast of DeKalb, the National Weather Service reported. No damage was reported to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s office.

Front desk personnel at Grant Towers received a call to disregard the warnings after the sirens subsided, said John Zmuda, who worked one of the towers’ front desks on Tuesday. By that point, other halls had already moved students to tornado shelters.

At about 5:45 p.m., tornado sirens echoed through the city as the National Weather Service issued alerts that funnel clouds were in the DeKalb County area.

Some students in the Grant Hall cafeteria were told to go to the basement, said freshman history major Erin Neary, but she said few people went to the shelter.

Freshman undeclared major Kelly Klein was also in the cafeteria when students were told to leave.

“There was a group of us down there and we waited a couple of minutes and left,” Klein said.

Kunal Gondalia, a junior finance major and residence hall operations staff member, said he heard the tornado warning over his radio and paged Douglas Hall Director Nitin Goil.

Before Goil could respond, Gondalia received instructions from Lincoln Hall Director Rhonda Hutter to take shelter, he said.

Kara Jenski, supervisor of Lincoln and Douglas halls, said getting the residents to tornado shelters was easy.

Actions in her halls was facilitated by clear communication between all authoritative figures, she said.