Local student rides out Platteville tornado in dormitory

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Angel Idowu
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

PLATTEVILLE—Lauren Perona felt her UW-Platteville dormitory building sway as a tornado rumbled through town Monday night.

“My ears began to pop and wouldn't stop,” Perona said. “The building felt like it was swaying, and then suddenly all of the power went out.”

She was only person on the sixth floor.

“The RAs gathered everyone in the building and took us to the first floor to sit,” Perona said. “After a little while, we were told to gather an overnight bag because we were going to be sleeping in a different building. We picked up students from the dorm next to us and walked the six blocks to McGregor Hall.”

Perona, a junior at UW-Platteville, is the daughter of Nina and Dean Perona of Janesville. She is spending the summer in Platteville taking summer courses and working.

She was preparing for bed Monday evening when the weather began to change.

“Around 11 p.m. I started to notice a change in the weather,” Perona said. “I was watching the news, and saw something about a severe weather warning but didn't pay any attention to it. Then suddenly there was lots of lightning but no thunder. My lights began to flicker, and there was a lot of wind.”

State emergency managers say Platteville apparently was hit by two tornadoes.

 The storm totaled cars, snapped trees and damaged power lines. Fire trucks and police cars were everywhere, Perona said

“We arrived at McGregor, where we got our room assignments for the night,” Perona said. “Because McGregor is an older, sturdier building made of cinder block, there was no real damage to the building. My dorm and the dorm next to mine suffered some damage, so we'll be living in McGregor for the rest of the summer.”

Windows from Perona's building were blown in and the roof was damaged.

“The storm hit in a straight line,” Perona said. “First it hit a dorm building, then went through the football stadium, and then the engineering hall. It also hit my dorm building and the one next to it. They're all damaged.”

No UW-Platteville students were hurt.

Summer students are waiting to hear what the school's plan is to adjust to the damage on campus.

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