USI tornado safety a relief compared to primary schools

No one expected to be running to safety because of a severe thunderstorm and tornado warning, especially after the last couple of “spring-like” days.

Everyone was stoked about how nice the weather was earlier in the week. Hats and gloves weren’t necessary, people were hammocking and playing on the quad and it was relieving to know spring was right around the corner. But what we all seem to forget is April showers bring May flowers, and these showers sure did come early.

It was just another Thursday morning with students heading to class and a little rain, which didn’t seem to bother anyone. However, rainy days should be spent inside rather than being out and about, sloshing through mud and puddles. But not too long after 11:00, cell phones started ringing with RAVE alerts, urging everyone who was on campus to take shelter in the basement.

As a college freshman, this tornado warning procedure was different from what was usually done at my high school. Typically in high schools, students would go to a safe place and cover their heads with textbooks and wonder how that was supposed to protect them.

In the basement of the Orr Center, people were relatively calm, which was a nice change from the usual panic and worry people tend to express during these situations. Despite how students felt being out of class, the lower levels were crowded with dozens of students, and the closeness of warm bodies caused people to sweat and become overheated or nauseous.

Aside from the few students who feared thunderstorms and the thought of a tornado, everyone appeared unaffected by the outside conditions. They were only curious as to what was going to happen next. The classes that were in the basement of the Orr enjoyed being able to sit on their phones or catch up on homework, and some even talked to the people in their class or with strangers around them.

It was comforting to know there was a secure and safe place to go to during extreme weather, and that the students in each of the basements would be okay.

Besides feeling safe, students and some professors were confused on what to do after receiving alerts and while in the basement. Different alerts were being sent out,  and some people used weather apps for further information, which caused others to wonder when dismissal from the basements would be and how severe the weather was.

The alerts should only be sent out upon knowing information about the weather that is valid and up to date.  These alerts should be reassuring, yet informative messages telling students, faculty and professors of the outside conditions and when to expect another alert. This would prevent confusion about what to do, and allow students and professors to act accordingly.

Nonetheless, the weather later in the day made it feel as if nothing had happened. The sun was shining and the temperature rose. Let’s just hope these May flowers are worth the crazy southern Indiana weather we continuously endure.