Strong winds remove University Bookstore roof, cause additional damage Sunday afternoon
High winds blew the roof off the University Bookstore, caused a power outage at the UB Commons and shattered a window in the Ellicott Complex.
The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning in the Buffalo-Niagara region starting on Sunday at 7 a.m. and ending on Monday at 10 a.m. UB also sent an alert to students on Friday and warned them of extensive damage to property and power lines as NWS expected winds to reach a high of 70 mph.
The winds did not reach those highs, but damaged UB property and power lines as they blew at roughly 50 mph.
Part of the University Bookstore’s roof blew off around 1:50 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, according to UB spokesperson Cory Nealon. The debris fell to the side of the building that faces Lake LaSalle. University Police offiicers declined to comment on the roof, the extent of the damage, how much it will cost and the extent of the power outage.
UPD officers alerted the manager of the bookstore, Greg Neumann. UPD officials and Neumann went inside the bookstore to survey the damage.
Nealon wrote in an email that there was no reported damage to the store’s inventory and the interior of the building was not “exposed to the elements.”
Nealon said university employees cleared the debris and contacted Follett Corp., which operates the bookstore independently from the university.
No one was in the bookstore at the time of the incident, according to Nealon, as the bookstore is closed on Sundays. UB spokesperson John DellaContrada said no UB Alert was issued because there was “no immediate danger” or “major disruption” to the university community.
Omran Omar, a chemical and biological engineering student, said he heard about part of the roof flying off on social media, and decided to see the damage for himself, joking that he hoped to find free books.
Omar said “the extent of the damage was really concerning” and that he was worried about possible damage to other parts of the university.
Students who walked or took the bus to The Commons looking for a meal were left disappointed when they realized the restaurants were closed due to the power outage.
Lily Fuller, a senior English major, walked to The Commons for lunch, only to find that restaurants weren’t serving food due to the outage.
“I mean, there’s people in Subway, but who wants an untoasted sub?” Fuller said.
The wind also blew out a window on the first floor of Richmond Quadrangle. DellaContrada said UB Facilities was repairing the window and temporarily putting in plywood.
DellaContrada didn’t comment on the Commons’ power outage in time for publication.
The Spectrum found the power back on in the UB Commons as of 10 p.m. Sunday.
UB Facilites officials did not respond in time for print.
This is a developing story.
Tanveen Vohra is a co-senior news editor and can be reached at email@example.com and @TanveenUBSpec.