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The Mesa Press

The Mesa Press

The independent student news site of San Diego Mesa College.

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The Mesa Press

The Mesa Press

Record rainfall soaks San Diego

Torrential rainfall spurs flash floods as San Diego Community Colleges see damage and flooding
The+Mesa+College+campus+quad+after+a+rainy+day+in+early+2024.
David J. Bohnet
The Mesa College campus quad after a rainy day in early 2024.

     It’s barely over a month into 2024 and already California has seen record rainfall, mudslides, and flooding across the state. The atmospheric rivers slamming the coast of California have impacted all San Diegans including here at Mesa College. Rainfall has damaged buildings within the San Diego Community College District, which includes Mesa, City, and Miramar Colleges, plus the campuses of the College of Continuing Education. The Cesar E. Chavez campus in Barrio Logan experienced significant damage in January, but has since reopened even as repairs continue. All ten of the district’s campuses experienced the effects of the weather-related damage differently; it has taken coordination and communication throughout the district to help with the recovery efforts.

Storm drain at Mesa College campus. (David J. Bohnet)

   Dave Warczakowski is the Regional Facilities Officer at Mesa College and has overseen cleanup efforts here at Mesa College in the aftermath of the recent storms. He explained how the sharing of resources district-wide is crucial during extreme weather events, and how they were able to help the recovery efforts at the Cesar E. Chavez campus. “We offered four of our custodians to help with the cleanup, and we sent them some of our equipment like dehumidifiers and air fans.” Closer to home, the overall damage to Mesa College was minimal. “We always have some storm drain issues. We had some flooding on the softball field, but overall we held up pretty good.”

    The Mesa College Facilities Department is the first step in assessing any damage to the campus. A newly installed work-order system has been implemented with hopes of assessing damage such as leaks and flooding immediately. “We kind of know which buildings have issues but we are not used to big rains like this.” Dave explained. “A lot of these problems can’t be fixed on the spot, we just try to stop it quickly and clear any computers, electronics, etc., to mitigate damage. We’re a lot of the eyes and ears but we don’t see everything. If you see something on campus, let us know. We’ll look into it.” Reports can be made about damage on campus, leaks, floods, or any other issues regarding the campus grounds by contacting any college employee or by calling the facilities department at (619) 388-2814.

Facilities Building L 200 on Mesa College Campus. (David J. Bohnet)

     Emergencies can happen without warning and can be devastating. A letter to students by Dr. Ashanti Hands, President of San Diego Mesa College, detailed the impact of this year’s rainfall and the need to come together as a community. She wrote, “It’s crucial to recognize that while we’re navigating these events, the impact is not uniform for everyone. Some within our community are grappling with physical and mental health challenges, food and housing instability, childcare and family responsibilities, transportation hurdles, and technological hurdles. Let’s open our hearts and foster an environment that acknowledges the complexity of these unprecedented and dynamic times.” She offered further advice and suggested that we check in with one another, along with utilizing campus resources such as The Stand for basic needs and the Mesa Counseling services should anyone find the need.

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The Stand on Mesa College campus. (David J. Bohnet)

Mesa College also has a fund that community members can contribute to set up to directly to help students who have been severely impacted by the 2024 flooding in San Diego.

    San Diego County was hardest hit on Jan. 22, when, according to the National Weather Service, 2.73 inches of rain fell in a single day making it the fourth wetting day on record. This beats the past record, set on the last day of January in 1979, when 2.57 inches of rain fell. The Mayor of San Diego, Todd Gloria, declared a State of Emergency due to the impact of the severe rainfall that day. Flood warnings were issued throughout the County and officials urged residents to stay home and avoid driving if possible. What made this storm different than most was the large amount of rain that fell in such a short amount of time. According to NBC 7 meteorologist Greg Bledsoe, “the city got a quarter of the normal rain of the year, in just one six-hour stretch.”

Mesa College campus after rainfall. (David J. Bohnet)

With more rain expected throughout Southern California and the San Diego region, there are a multitude of resources available to students and San Diego residents. The city of San Diego has an alert system and residents are encouraged to prepare for storms by signing up. The city also suggests making a plan for close family and pets in case of flooding or other weather emergencies and preparing an emergency essential kit in advance. Here is a list of locations throughout the county where sandbags are available to residents and businesses for free. More information from the city of San Diego about how to prepare for inclement weather can be found here.

   

    With most of the year still to come, there is certain to be more weather events throughout San Diego in the near future. There are many resources available at Mesa College and in the local community to help those that have experienced loss as a result of the storms. Preparing for storms by checking the local forecast, listening to state and local officials, and utilizing the resources available, will conceivably help keep San Diegans safe through these rapidly changing weather patterns.

 

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About the Contributor
David J. Bohnet, Features/Sports Editor
David J. Bohnet is proud to be a part of the Mesa Press as the Features and Sports Editor. He hopes to shed light on important news and happenings around Mesa College and San Diego through his writing and photography.  He has a BFA from the University of Utahs' Actors Training program and is looking toward a masters in Journalism and Media Studies. David is hoping to feature the arts, sports, and entertainment with the occasional opinion piece. Stay tuned!
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