The squeaking of golashes could be heard throughout the hallways of the Cal Poly campus on Tuesday as hoards of poncho-clad students yielding upturned umbrellas scurried into sheltered hallways with a communal look of “this sucks” spread across their rain-splattered faces.
San Luis Obispo started the rainy season early, receiving an abnormal amount of rain for the month of October.
Many students found that with the storm came various inconveniences during the school day including trouble getting to school, difficulties navigating around campus and obstacles such as street flooding.
Julia Fiore, a social science junior, decided to drive to school and pay the five-dollar parking fee rather than enduring a walk through horizontal sheets of rain
“It was buckets yesterday,” she said. “It took me like 15 minutes to find a parking spot and I had to park way in the back in that parking lot by Poly Canyon. I didn’t really care though. I was not about to walk in that rain,” Fiore said.
Rather than searching for a parking spot or walking to school, Jackie Woods, a communications junior, decided to take the bus.
“There are two bus stops by my house and the first bus that came was too packed so I had to wait for the next bus. It was a lot more crowded than usual,” Woods said.
Other students, including Carla Globerson-Lamb, a nutrition sophomore, did not have time before class to wait for the next bus.
“It was completely full so everybody that was waiting started walking. I really did not want to so I tried to flag down cars. This like 60-year-old man pulled over and I asked him if he was going towards campus and he said yes so I got in,” Globerson-Lamb said. “It was really awkward and he kept talking to me about his old-man music. He dropped me off close to campus and I just walked the rest of the way.”
While some students chose cars or public transportation to get to school, Shauna Shea, a psychology junior, who lives a few blocks from campus decided to walk to school.
Upon arriving home from class, Shea appeared to have taken a shower fully clothed, she said.
“I was trying to talk to my mom on the phone and my umbrella kept flipping upside down. I just said forget it and walked home without it and was completely drenched by the time I got home,” Shea said.
Besides the impact on transportation, many students, including Ariana Jarrell, a civil engineering junior, felt that the biggest inconvenience was becoming drenched while walking around campus between classes.
“Cars would drive through these huge puddles and people would have to jump out of the way so that they wouldn’t get sprayed,” Jarell said. “The sidewalks were all muddy and slippery too.”
Many students hoping to stay dry during their walks between classes came armed with an umbrella, but many found that the rain-shielding device was no match for winds up to 45 m.p.h.
Frank Cawley, the El Corral Bookstore director, who has been working on campus for 14 years, said that a steady stream of students were coming into the bookstore to purchase umbrellas on Tuesday.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it rain that hard. About three years back I think it was a pretty rough winter. I know in San Francisco, they said it hasn’t rained that hard since 1964,” he said. “We completely sold out of umbrellas. I believe we sold 460 umbrellas total. We’ve already have another 1,000 on order.”
Despite completely selling out of umbrellas, many students found that they did not help much in staying dry.
“I saw at least five people walking around campus, battling with their umbrellas. My friend got all embarrassed because her little, pink umbrella turned completely inside out. It just folded in half and all the wires came detached. She ended up just throwing it in the garbage,” Fiore said.
Fiore also was welcomed by an unfortunate event involving transportation after returning to her car after her classes were over.
“I left my window down in my car so there was a huge puddle in my seat. I literally opened the door and water flooded out and soaked me from the waist down. Not like I wasn’t already drenched,” Fiore said.
Since getting to school posed a dilemma for some, students noticed that there were more empty seats in their classes than usual.
“In my morning class there were a lot of people missing, but not in my afternoon class because we had a midterm. The rain just makes people want to sit at home and watch movies,” Fiore said.
Besides the inconveniences that students might face in trying to get to school or navigating around campus, the Cal Poly campus also faces some complications due to heavy rain.
Scott Loosely, the assistant director of operations for landscape services, feels that Cal Poly is prepared, however, to deal with big storms.
“Prior to the rainy season, we go out and make sure all the catch basins are cleaned out. We try to prevent in advance by staging sandbags in areas that are really prone to flooding to make sure that water doesn’t get into buildings,” Loosley said.
Areas that have had issues with flooding within the past year include Grand Ave. and the area by the Natatorium, where the street curves downward, Loosley said.
While the catch basins were cleaned out prior to Tuesday’s storm, facility services received one complaint yesterday that Grand Ave. was flooding by the Vista Grande Restaurant.
“We went out there and saw that some water was overflowing into the street. The drain wasn’t clogged. It was just that the drain was completely filled up. It’s just the design of the street. Sometimes on parts of the road that are really old, the pavement is uplifted,” Loosley said.
While street flooding is sometimes out of the control of facility services, in the event that a building floods, immediate action will be taken.
The campus is set up so that if one catch basin fills up, there is generally another catch basin further down the street for excess rainwater to flow into. If a building floods, however, facility services are prepared to bring in water pumps and vacuums to remove the water from the building.
Regardless of the inconveniences the rain caused for students and the Cal Poly campus, Tuesday’s storm will be looked back at as a test run for what could be a harsh winter with the arrival of El Nino.
“It’s fine the first few weeks, but after that, it gets to be a it much. The rain’s awesome if I get to be inside looking out at it,” Jarrell said.