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Campus buildings flood, students take shelter amid tornado warning

<h4>Flooding in Joline Hall.</h4>
<h5>Courtesy of Alex Moosbrugger</h5>

Flooding in Joline Hall.

Courtesy of Alex Moosbrugger

Around campus this evening, students received both tornado and flash flood warnings and had to find ways to respond to the alerts to remain safe. Those in public spaces, such as Frist Campus Center, sheltered in place.

Cole Meyer ’24 was in Frist when the storm warnings began.

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“For a while, we were allowed to stay where we were. Then, at some point, we were asked to move into the basement’s multipurpose room, which is below the late meal area,” Meyer said.

The group of students were led by student employees and supervisors from Café Vivian and Witherspoon’s down an elevator. At 8:07 p.m. ET, the tornado warning was terminated in another message sent via TigerAlert, and students were allowed to leave the basement and walk home.

At 5:46 p.m., the first tornado warning was announced via the TigerAlert emergency notification system to all members of the campus community. The National Weather Service advised Princeton residents to “take immediate action to take cover.”

The alert explained that “[a] tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted on the ground and you should take immediate cover. You should stay away from windows as well as doors and walls that face the exterior of the building.”

A large thunderstorm, which formed from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, reached campus at around 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The storm intensified and began to cause serious flooding outdoors. The National Weather Service announced a flash flood warning at around 7:10 p.m., stated to remain in effect until 4 a.m. Thursday.

Dining halls were busy with the dinner rush as the storm continued through the area; all six residential colleges continued dining service as normal, though students were advised in a TigerAlert at 7:23 p.m., “Do not go to class or go to dinner if you aren't already there.” Several eating clubs sheltered members into basements.

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Several groups of students in buildings around campus reported incidents of indoor flooding around 7:35 p.m. in Holder and Campbell halls, and later, at 7:50 p.m., in the basement of Little Hall.

Grady Trexler ’24, who was sheltering in place in the basement of Little, said that water began to enter the room from underneath a door leading outside.

“There [were] around 15 people in the room with me when one of the doors started to flood,” Trexler said. “We kind of just laughed.”

A video shown to The Daily Princetonian depicted water flowing quickly through a ground level window in Joline Hall, filling a conference room near entrance four. Ryan Konarska ’25 filmed the video while sheltering nearby in the Joline recreation room.

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“Water was gushing through the window [which is] about 3 feet off the ground,“ he said.

Andrew Somerville is a staff writer who corresponds with and covers USG happenings and other campus news. He can be reached at jas19@princeton.edu.

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