Severe weather hits, moves through Campustown

A tornado warning that had been issued for the Champaign area Friday evening has expired.

University officials responded to the severe weather by utilizing the Illini-alert, emergency text messaging system to alert the student body.

The first emergency text and e-mail were sent just before 7 p.m. and read, “Emergency! Tornado expected to hit UI campus. Seek shelter indoors immediately and turn to local media for details.”

This was only the second time the emergency text messaging system has been used to inform students, faculty and staff of a problem on campus. The system was also used in March to alert the community of a widespread power outage. Calls to University spokeswoman Robin Kaler were not immediately returned.

Once the storm passed a second text message was sent.

“The Tornado Warning for Champaign County has expired. It is now safe to leave your designated shelter locations,” read the message sent around 7:40 p.m.

During the severe thunderstorms and high winds that hit the area Friday afternoon several trees were knocked down and streets reported flooded.

Friday’s Taste of C-U was also rained out and the event will reopen Saturday morning at 11 p.m., according to the Champaign Park District Web site.

A severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect for Champaign County and much of Central Illinois until 10 p.m., according to the National Weather service.

Stay tuned to for updates