City, campus take tornado precautions; no damages confirmed in Kent


The house located on the corner of Bunker Lane and Berwin Drive received the most damage from the tornado that touched down in Stow on Wednesday, Sept.10.

Patrick Williams

Students, faculty and staff at Kent State University took shelter Wednesday night as a tornado watch turned into a tornado warning for the Kent area.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning at 5:33 p.m. for northern Portage, northwest Trumbull and southeastern Geauga County. The tornado warning for the Kent area was lifted at 6 p.m. The warning for all three counties was lifted at 6:15 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

A tornado watch was issued for Portage, Summit and Geauga counties at 5:02 p.m. and was lifted at 9 p.m, according to the National Weather Service.

“We were in class, and a tornado warning came up on all of our phones, and we all looked, and we said, ‘Hey, there’s a tornado warning,’” Lucas Misera, a freshman business major, said. “We all left our class and casually walked through campus as sirens blared.”

Kent State University Police said there had been no reports of weather damage on campus.

The Kent Fire and Police Departments did not receive any confirmed reports of damage in the city. Kent police reported roof damage to a house on the corner of Bunker Lane and Berwin Drive in Stow. Police also reported damage to Stow-Munroe Falls High School located on Graham Road.

The university remained open for evening classes and activities, said university spokesman Eric Mansfield. Teachers had the ability to cancel their individual classes, and some of them did, he said.

Student reactions during the tornado warning

Freshman Steve Barnes was about to finish class when he received an alert on his phone. Soon after, professors made him and others take shelter.

“I thought they weren’t going to do that,” Barnes said. “I was just planning on going back to my dorm.”

Sophomore Jordyn Nenadich was in her Centennial E dorm at the time.

“The RAs were all just as confused and nervous as we were,” Nenadich said. “Just to be safe, they had us all on the first floor of our building until the warning was cancelled.

Ritika Srivastava, a freshman entrepreneurship major, said she had never experienced a tornado warning before.

“I didn’t ever hear the (alarm),” Srivastava said. “I had headphones in and everything, so I was just a bit shocked.”

Madilynn Ruland-Finch, freshman nursing major, said she didn’t feel safe because she was in a woodshop with tools.

“My friend and I were walking and the siren went off so we went inside Beall (Hall),” Ruland-Finch said. “My mom, dad, brother and grandma texted me. I was feeling scared at first then wasn’t towards the end.”

Geography instructor Mark Rhodes said he canceled his physical geography lab when the tornado warning was extended from 6 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. He said his students would have little time to complete the lab and didn’t want to subject them to hazardous weather and driving conditions.

“My parents live five miles from Washington, Illinois, where over 700 homes were destroyed last November,” Rhodes said. “I saw that damage first-hand and know that there is no messing around when it comes to a tornado warning. It is always better to play it safe.”

The university tests the tornado sirens at 11 a.m. on the first Wednesday of every month and at 6:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month.

Katelyn Lawrence, a sophomore psychology major, said she was aware that the tornado sirens were tested on Wednesdays and initially didn’t think much of them.

“I’m happy someone told me what was going on because I would’ve ignored it,” Lawrence said.

Resident assistants in Wright Hall knocked on residents’ doors to make sure their residents came out to take cover, said Angelina Shirey, a senior resident assistant in Wright. The RAs go over safety precautions at their first meeting, she said.

The university website’s tornado safety page instructs students to be prepared, take shelter and keep informed on the latest storm conditions. Tornado watch notices are posted in highly-trafficked areas, according to the website.


Contact Patrick Williams at [email protected]. Audrey Fletcher, Alyssa Flynn, Samantha Ickes, Ashley Kotlenz, Jimmy Miller, Madeleine Winer and Erin Zaranec contributed to this report.