Ida to Blame for Flood Damage
In the first week of September, Mount St. Mary’s University experienced remnants of hurricane Ida which hit various areas in Maryland and Virginia. Every crevice of the Mount campus was flooded with fast currents of rainwater which increased as students faced the elements to attend their morning classes. A number of students were unaware of the magnitude of the flood and that gusting winds and icy rain would be impacting the school at such high intensity.
Widespread confusion spread across the campus quickly since the majority of the school’s weather updates were so abrupt and were not communicated until heavy rain resulted in severe water damage and runny noses. One of the email updates from an administrator read, “If you have a car parked behind Bradley or Terrace we need you to move it immediately!!! Sent from my iPhone.”
Another email message from the university read, “No vehicular or pedestrian traffic on University Way in the area of Bradley and Borders due to extensive flooding. An update will be issued as soon as conditions improve.” However, no further updates were sent through email in regards to class and dining hall schedules, where vehicles should be relocated and the overall protocol for how campus should carry on during critical weather conditions.
Those who prepared the best they could in the short time they could, received information from local weather reports which alerted residents multiple times with tornado, flood warnings and severe rain and thunderstorm warnings. Whether on foot or in a vehicle, the University, nestled in the mountains, left all individuals with the risk and high possibility of water damage.
Water on ground floors woke sleepy students up with inches of muddy water and strong aromas of mildew. Residents on the lowest floors experienced soppy carpet, delayed laundry cycles and broken elevators. Resident assistants had to rally together to scoop out the contaminated water, which seeped into finished floors and surrounded washers and dryers filled with residents’ fresh clothes. For some, assisting in the cleanup of the flood allowed them to volunteer and serve in the community.
While some students were serving their community or waking up early to reluctantly rush to class tired and drenched, other students had alternative ideas in mind. Several campus residents saw a slippery downhill parking lot as an opportunity for a free water slide. Students lined up outside Pangborn Hall and took turns barefoot and bare-backed, sliding across the slick concrete, feet and head first on their bottoms and bellies. Their parking lot water park received lots of social media attention on campus.