Longwood University has close call with storm

FARMVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Longwood University went on lock down while these powerful storms roared through the area. Students received text messages and emails telling them to seek shelter.

Funnel clouds were spotted in the area, but fortunately, no tornados came through campus. Still, university officials say it was better to be safe, than sorry. Most students at Longwood were worried about upcoming final exams, until the threat of tornados gave them something else to worry about.

Longwood was on lock down as funnel clouds formed around Farmville. Alan Dunaway was on campus when his phone lit up with several alerts from the university.

"I've never been in that kind of situation before," Dunaway said. "It was surreal that it was happening like one after another, especially in an area where it doesn't happen that often."

Tim Pierson was one of the people calling the shots at Longwood about whether to alert students. He says as soon as the tornado watch turned into a warning, he knew the university had to spring into action.

"We've learned a lot in the last few years," Pierson said. "Virginia Tech was one of the areas that helped us point out some things in terms of how we can communicate to our students the best to keep them as safe as possible."

Dunaway says the alerts kept him in the loop about what it was like outside while he was seeking shelter inside. He says the number of alerts also showed him how serious this storm was.

"We've had tornado warnings and tornado watches before," Dunaway said. "I was just kind of, I was like, 'oh, well, nothing out of the normal' but we kept getting after the one happened, then another and another one. I was like, 'this is kind of ridiculous'."

Other students say if it wasn't for the alerts the university was sending, they would not have known what was going on.

"We knew what was happening," said Longwood student Jessa Robeson. "We knew where the tornados were and how close we were to them, so Longwood definitely kept us updated."

By the end of the night, students here at Longwood spent about two hours on lock down. Fortunately there were no injuries and no damage at Longwood from the storm.

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