Dorms avoid flooding after storm

After the University of New Haven was struck by a pair of strong storms, Tropical Storm Henri and Hurricane Ida, last September, students living on the first floor of Gerber Hall were forced to move out of their rooms and into other temporary housing arrangements. This was due to flooding that occurred in the building, making students use the extra COVID housing provided by the university to become a dorm-style living space.

Gerber wasn’t the only dorm that experienced issues with heavy rainfall during the storm. Each of the older freshman dorms, Gerber, Bixler and Bethel all have similar problems according to Gerber resident assistant (RA) and junior political science major Vincenzia Johns.

Johns was a Bixler Hall RA last year and said that the dorm also struggled with flooding issues, because of how it is situated on an incline that brings water towards the building. Now, as an RA in Gerber, Johns said that a repeat of last year is on students’ minds.

“I would say that first floor residents are worried about Gerber flooding again because there is a chance their possessions are damaged,” she said. “Overall, it’s a huge inconvenience to have to deal with flooding or even entertain the idea of it.”

On Sept. 5 of this year, those fears were tested as a storm dumped .75 inches of rain in less than 12 hours. While the rain wasn’t as heavy as last year, some parking spots on campus were blocked due to flooding while other roads around the university were nearly impassable.

According to Johns, the university did take precautions to avoid the flooding happening in the dorms again. Facilities and ResLife were both monitoring weather warnings in the area to see if there was potential for flash flooding. Sandbags were also placed outside of the first floor emergency exits to block water from building up there, she said.

It is a good sign that there were no issues following the most recent storm. However, it is something that residents of the hall must be prepared for at all times.

“I’ve taken precautions to ensure that if it did [flood], my possessions would not be ruined,” Johns said. “All of my possessions are packed in bins… I do not believe that any of my possessions would be damaged.”