North Texas Daily

Storm damage affects West Hall students, some displaced from rooms

Storm damage affects West Hall students, some displaced from rooms

Storm damage affects West Hall students, some displaced from rooms
April 04
22:13 2014

Joshua Knopp // Senior Staff Writer

Before last night’s severe hail storm tore off a large chunk of West Hall’s roof, it had already caused a large disturbance, causing the hall’s tornado sirens to blare for more than an hour.

For computer science freshman Ryan Marston, he spent most of the storm with his hand over the third floor alarm trying to mute it as much as he could.

“We were just really annoyed by the sirens,” he said, chuckling. “It didn’t feel like the world was ending, we were just having a good time.”

West Hall took most of the campus’ damage, facilities director David Reynolds said. The campus saw a few broken windows and damaged light posts as well as about a dozen trees with major limb damage. Some sky lights at Discovery Park were broken by hail as well as the green house roof. Reynolds said the most visible damage was to West Hall, which lost about 30 square feet of the upper part of its roof and some of the insulation underneath that, as well as flooding in the top floor that has pushed students out of four rooms while UNT calls in contractors to repair.

Reynolds thanked the West Hall residents that went outside to help clean up the parking lot. Marston was among those students, though he said the hall director told them they shouldn’t have touched anything.

“After we finished cleaning it, he was like, ‘don’t touch anything, the university doesn’t want you to,’ and then we were like, ‘OK, we’re done,'” he said.

One of the displaced students, kinesiology freshman Rene Rivas, is staying in a resident assistant’s room for the time being. He was with fellow West Hall resident Andrew Biasini, a pre-business sophomore, at Champs Cafeteria when the storm hit. Students ran out of the cafeteria and across the awning to knock on the door to Victory Hall, but none of the student inside could hear the knocking over the sirens, Biasini said.

“We were stuck in the glass box because none of us live at Victory,” he said. “We had to run across. The rain was coming, like, sideways.”

When they got back to West, Rivas’ room was two inches underwater.

“I had some books that I rented online that are screwed now,” he said.

The damage was limited to schoolwork. Rivas said he’s been told he’ll have to stay in the resident assistant’s room for between a week and 10 days.

But Rivas admits he was lucky. He and Biasini saw bleachers and football training equipment strewn across the Victory Hall parking lot from the nearby football practice field. When they got back to West Hall, they found Rivas’ white Mustang relatively untouched — parked right behind a car featured on NBC News for being smashed by the detached roof.

Senior English lecturer Amos Magliocco has been a storm chaser for 18 years, and he said UNT as a whole was very lucky. Magliocco said multiple storms hit North Texas last night, and the first two followed the same corridor. He said that the second one, which caused most of the damage, would have become a tornado had the first one not cooled the air down.

“It was organized. It was funneling,” Magliocco said of the second storm. “I’ve seen a lot of tornadoes, and that looked like a definite tornado producer. It was a sure thing. If the first storm hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have had the deposit of cold, rain-cooled air in its wake.

“It was that cooler, rain-cooled air that choked the second storm, and I’m pretty convinced that that’s the reason we’re not looking at a path of rubble and debris right through the middle of town.”

Reynolds said facilities will have campus back to normal soon for most students, but West Hall residents may wait several weeks to a month before things are completely repaired.

Featured image: Students at West Hall clean up after a portion of the roof was blown off by a severe thunder and hail storm. Photo by Akshay Mirchandani, Staff Writer.

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