Monday, May 20, 2024

East Lansing tornado warning expires, MSU assesses possible water damage

April 17, 2024
<p>Wednesday afternoon, students can be seen going about their day while withstanding severe storms on Grand River Ave, on April 17, 2024. </p>

Wednesday afternoon, students can be seen going about their day while withstanding severe storms on Grand River Ave, on April 17, 2024.

A tornado warning was in effect in this East Lansing until 2:30 p.m. on April 17, according to an emergency alert from the National Weather Service. 

The alert, which was sent out at 1:41 p.m., told residents to "take shelter now in a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building." It also said that people outside should move to the closest substantial shelter and protect themselves from debris. 

MSU rang the emergency sirens on campus and sent an alert shortly later, echoing the directions given by the National Weather Service.

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The National Weather Service (NWS) in Grand Rapids reported the warning for Northern Ingham County and Eastern Eaton County. A severe thunderstorm "capable of producing a tornado" was located near Eaton Rapids, moving northeast at 35 mph, according to the NWS. 

"Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter," the report said. "Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree Damage is likely."

Meteorologist Brandon Hoping from the National Weather Service said there is no confirmed tornado in the area. 

"This is a radar-indicated rotation with thunderstorms approaching the Lansing (and) East Lansing area," Hoping said. "It will be approaching here in the next several minutes, but the radar does show rotation that these storms are moving in." 

Psychology freshman Isabella Maxwell took shelter in the basement of the Communication Arts and Sciences building and said she was surprised about the alert. 

"I'm kind of upset," Maxwell said. "I've had a whole plan today and now it's disrupted. I wasn't prepared for the rain at all, so I'm not going anywhere until it's not raining."

MSU sent out an email at 2:36 p.m. announcing that the tornado warning had expired.

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Bethany Balks, the associate director for communications in Residence Education and Housing Services, said although storm did not bring any tornado activity onto campus, it brought in some wind and rain.

Balks said the facilities team is currently conducting an assessment and recording any damage or water infiltration that occurred. A few leaks occurred as a result of roof drains flowing into buildings, Balks said

“The team has found some small leaks in basements in Wilson and Wonders (Halls), and we've also found a couple spots over in Butterfield (Hall),” Balks said. “So far everything has been minor. We've been able to handle most internally."

Balks recommended that students who encounter water infiltration or damage report it to the service center and complete an online maintenance request

“We're trying to get through each building as quickly as possible, but it's always great when students can tell us,” Balks said

She also said she encourages students to leave their windows closed when they leave their rooms.

“I'm sure there are some students that probably had their's open and may have wished it would have been closed, but hopefully they can clean up any water that came in pretty quick,” Balks said.

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