‘Storm Ready’ campus floods after rainfall

Images by Nicole Montero, video by Aliana Zamorano/FIUSM Staff

Aliana Zamorano/Staff Writer

When Joe Gomez walked through the Modesto A. Maidique Campus last Tuesday to class, he was met with a “monsoon” of ankle-deep, storm water flooding outside the Green Library.

“The drain was spitting out water because everywhere else on campus was so flooded,” said Gomez, a freshman journalism major. “I get that it was raining hard, but I don’t think the campus drains can handle even small showers.”

FIU is a “Storm Ready” university, according to the Department of Emergency Management’s website. Certified by the National Weather Service, the University meets all storm ready requirements as set by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

These requirements include a 24 hour warning period, efficient communication with community members, accurate monitoring of storms and community preparedness for any emergency and awareness of emergency procedures.

Complaints of storm water flooding at MMC are a constant for hurricane season during the fall semester, however.

Sidewalks, parking lots and passages between buildings are common places for flooding, causing students to form lines to walk around the pools of water to avoid submerging their feet.

“There have been times that I have had to take off my shoes and roll up my pants,” said Lazaro Rodriguez, a senior biology major. “Every year it’s the same issue.”

University students are aware of the situation and have taken to Twitter and Instagram to voice their opinions, posting photos of walkways and grass fields completely under water.

Most popular are posts of rainy game days outside the FIU stadium when massive flooding creates severe obstacles for football fans as they try to park and walk to the field.

But the issue doesn’t seem to be a priority for campus management.

Associate VP of Facilities Management John Cal said there is no flooding problem at the University.

“It’s a non-issue,” said Cal. “It just a nuisance and definitely not a severe problem.”

Yet, in a 2013 FIU Board of Trustees budget request for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal year, flooding was described as a “priority issue,” according to meeting minutes.

“During heavy rains, a number of areas on campus have very large pools of standing water,” states the document.  “These areas are along the pedestrian sidewalks and along roadways.”

The minutes also show that funds were requested to install catch basins or storm drains throughout campus.

But there is no current project, said Cal.

“I am not aware of this,” he said. “The only place where a campus drain system improvement project is underway is in the parking lot adjacent to the Surplus Warehouse.”

This project, located by the soccer field, is expected to be finished later this month.

No major movements seem to be in the works to fix the inches of rain that accumulate when it rains on campus.

The Department of Emergency Management did not respond by press time.

“I know it’s not an easy fix, but I just started at FIU in August and it’s already affected my school days several times,” said Gomez. “It’s hard to get from point A to point B if you care about your shoes and pants at all.”

aliana.zamorano@fiusm.com

About the Author

Camila Fernandez
A FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communications Student - Began working with Student Media in 2013.

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