Storm Floods Library, Dorms

By Jordan WeissmannThe Daily Northwestern

Buildings across campus flooded and lost power Monday night as Northwestern was hit by a severe thunderstorm that showered down hail and up to eight inches of rain.

The overnight storm elicited flash flood warnings across northern Cook County.

At the University Library, rain water flooded the main hall, stretching by the computer lounge and soaking the carpet. Lights flickered off as the water seeped through the front entrance and cascaded down the front stairs, sending staff members scrambling to pick up computer equipment from the floor.

“It looked like a waterfall,” Medill junior Angela Munoz said.

Roads throughout South Campus were flooded, with Foster Street submerged in a tire-deep pool that covered part of the sidewalk.

Dorms and sorority houses were also drenched. Sewage water filled the basements of Chi Omega and Pi Beta Phi. And at the Communications Residential College, about six inches of water built up behind the main door after mulch clogged the building’s drains. As water spilled in, residents ran to clear out the dorm’s entertainment room.

The storm also knocked out electricity in dorms across North Campus, drawing police cars and firetrucks to the Fraternity Quads.

Still, the blackout couldn’t prevent some students from hitting the books. In Lisa’s Cafe – where staff had to toss food from powerless refrigerators – some studied under the green glow of the store’s emergency lights.

At the Transfer House, 2251 Sheridan Road, two students labored in front of a physics textbook with the help of a flashlight.

“I believe this blackout creates a disparity between those who have a flashlight and those who don’t,” Weinberg junior Chenfei Lu said.

The power outage also shut down SafeRide pickups when it cut off the dispatch center’s phone lines. As the rain peaked, many students found themselves stranded or dashing through the downpour.

In Norris University Center, Meena Hasan wiped runny mascara from her friend’s face while looking out the window.

“It’s a like a river,” said the Communication junior, pointing to Campus Drive.

Others took the deluge as a chance to let loose. Groups of students in swim trunks and T-shirts could be seen splashing in the streets.

As streak lightning lit up the sky, a pack of puddle-hoppers ran toward Long Field.

“We’re going to die,” one shouted.

“Take it to the streets,” said another.

When asked why they were rushing to a clearing in a lightning storm, a third student explained: “We’re in college.”

The Daily’s Ching-Yen Pai contributed to this report.

Reach Jordan Weissmann at [email protected]