Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Campus reacts to severe storm’s damage

A worker in a cherry picker saws a tree off a powerline during Tuesday night’s power outage. Photo by Shylee Garrett.

Sirens blared throughout the Rock Island community on Tuesday night, signaling people to take shelter immediately for the incoming storm, which resulted in damages to buildings and multiple knocked down power lines throughout the night.
“I didn’t think this storm was going to be this severe, I very was surprised,” junior Derrick McLean said, who was with his friends exploring the aftermath damages. His friend junior Ryan Holman was saying how he was checking on his friends to see if they were okay.
No injuries have been reported concerning students and faculty who were on campus when the storm was in full swing. Severe damage was done to the Arbaugh townhouses, as well as in front of Westerlin residence hall from tree debris near the side entrance closest to 10th ave. Power was out on campus and in Rock Island until around midnight on Wednesday morning.
Junior Chloe Gale is a resident of Arbaugh 6, which suffered the worst of the damages. The tree fell and hit the side of her apartment and caved in her roommates ceiling. Gale’s ceiling in her room was leaking when she went to get some of her belongings. The tree also hit Arbaugh 7, but no one lived in that room to her knowledge.
“We haven’t heard from anyone which is kind of annoying. I tried to go back and Public Safety told me I (couldn’t) be up here, even though I lived here,” Gale said. Public Safety warned her of the danger and asked her if she had a place to stay which Gale thankfully did.
The initial warnings came through emails alerting people of the storm at 6:55 p.m. on Tuesday, which transitioned into tornado warnings at 7:12 p.m. Updates were sent out throughout the night signaling when the storm was subsiding.
“I was in (my dorm’s) basement…they made us to go downstairs and everybody knew that something was up,” sophomore Davis Baxter said.
Baxter was taking a nap in his dorm in Erickson and was woken up by his CA who was yelling through a megaphone telling people to head to the basement for safety. Baxter and his friends later decided to walk around and see what the damage was.
“We saw the scene at Arbaugh and the tree was right in the center, and (Public Safety) set up the perimeter so we couldn’t check it out anymore,” said Baxter.
Sam Schlouch, director of public relations for the college, explained in a phone interview that initiatives were already taking place to ensure the safety of everyone. Public Safety did a drive through of the college, and barred off the damages at Arbaugh from the public.
Schlouch said that the emergency plan is already set in motion, and that MidAmerican Energy crews are working to restore power around the campus and in Rock Island as a whole as soon as possible.
Schlouch stated in an email on Wednesday at 7 a.m. that classes will still be held on campus, though professors will be reassigning any homework due on Wednesday.
Even though there are no specific damages reported at the moment, Schlouch is hoping to talk with students on an individual basis who may have experienced a loss due to the storm.
After talking with some of the CA’s in Erickson, it was explained that Augustana is liable for the damages in this situation for the buildings, but they’re not personally liable for people’s belonging’s, senior Andrew Houkal said, who has been working as a CA for two years. It is not clear if the college will reimburse students for lost and damaged material.
“It was hard to get people to realize the severity of the situation, I think they thought that we were just lying”, senior Ashley Kethcart said, who also has been a CA for two years.

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Campus reacts to severe storm’s damage