Greg Young’s Saturday night started out like any other evening, with him and a friend watching television in their dorm room at Southwestern Community College in Creston.
A few rain drops sprinkled against the walls, while the sky turned darker. Then came thunder and lightning, not unlike any other spring storm in Iowa.
But suddenly, Young, a 2010 Clinton High School graduate, and his friend, noticed the power shut off. A few moments later, Young’s ears popped and wind ripped through the college.
“Everyone knew it was too late to go outside,” Young said, referencing SWCC’s tornado procedure for residents to take shelter in another dorm building across the parking lot. “We just hunkered down on the bottom floor of the dorm and rode it out. It really wasn’t very long.”
What Young and about 10 other residents in his dorm experienced was an EF2 tornado that tore through Creston, a town of about 7,500 people in southwest Iowa. Young’s dorm hall sustained damage, but escaped major issues compared to the new dorms just constructed on the SWCC campus.
Overall, about 30 homes sustained major damage or were destroyed, the hospital and Area Education Agency, along with SWCC incurred major damage, and about 4,000 residents were without power Sunday, according to the Creston News Advertiser.
No serious injuries have been reported.
“We were extremely lucky,” said Young, the son of Lon and Jennifer Young of Clinton. “Half our luck was that it was the weekend, so half the kids go home over the weekend. That really helped a lot since there was less people than there should have been.”
Although minor injuries were sustained by some SWCC students, Young credits the knowledge of the people involved with why major injuries were avoided. No sirens sounded to alert residents of the impending tornado, because of the rapid pace of the storm, according to officials.
“Once we heard the ears pop, people knew what to do,” said Young, who plays baseball for the Spartans.
When the storm subsided, Young and his friends were speechless while surveying the damage. Buildings and cars were in shambles and most of the residents had no where to go.
Emergency officials evacuated the students to the gymnasium. Most of the displaced students spent the night in the gym, but Young was able to room with a friend in nearby Afton.
“After it was all done, we walked outside and people were checking their cars, and there was a kind of a shock of what just happened,” Young said.
Young’s car featured only a dent after the initial storm. But after strong winds resurfaced later, debris cracked his car’s windshield.
The sophomore pitcher is back in Clinton for now, but will return soon to Creston. Classes were canceled Monday and today, but for now, there’s a doubleheader scheduled for Wednesday against Indian Hills at home.
“The baseball field looks great,” Young said. “There’s just one section of fence that went down, but the tarp stayed down.”
When Young returns, he will have to adjust to new living arrangements. Students displaced by the storm are being set up at the Super 8 Motel in Creston.
Luckily for Young, though, his dorm sustained little damage, so he was able to bring most of his belongings back home to Clinton on Sunday.