Torrential Rains Cause Flash Flooding on Campus Roads and Inside Buildings

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By Phoebe Doscher, News Editor

Heavy rains and high winds in Gettysburg starting between 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday caused flooding on North Washington Street and Carlisle Street and inside several buildings on campus. Students were alerted of the flooding via the campus alert system and an email from Director of Public Safety Bill Lafferty.

Some residence halls experienced leakage through the windows; those impacted in residence halls were referred to Residence Life. Facilities Services and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) dealt with cleanup for other buildings on campus while local police addressed flooding on streets.

“Several academic and administrative buildings are impacted, including dining, the library, Attic, and athletics facilities,” Lafferty said in an email.

“The water should subside quickly as the rains are tapering off,” he continued in an email sent at 9:45 p.m.

North Washington Street was one of the flooded roads on campus. Kevin Ganjon ’22 captured a video of himself wading through knee-deep water Thursday night on North Washington Street across from Christ Chapel.

(Video courtesy of Kevin Ganjon)

“The water smelled awful, I was trying to wash the smell off for about an hour after that. It was about two feet deep at that location and extremely murky,” Ganjon said.

Plank Gym was among the buildings affected in the flooding, with water leaking into classrooms and the hallway of the basement.

(Video Nicole DeJacimo/The Gettysburgian)

The library also experienced flooding under the exterior doors in the back patio, back stairs, and through some, but not all, window bays. Housekeeping, Facilities, and the staff at the library quickly attended to the leakage by moving furniture and drying impacted areas with wet vacuums, floor fans, and floor bowers.

The wet vac process was completed by 3 a.m., while the Facilities project van and staff remained at the library overnight, according to Musselman Library Director of User Services Natalie Hinton.

“Student study spaces were never significantly impacted, other than the bustle and movement of crews responding to the event,” Hinton said. “If there is water inside the library, we always take it seriously.”

The Tiber was seen flooded as well, and had grown to the size of a small pond, beyond its normal confines.

(Video Maddie Neiman/The Gettysburgian)

During the second performance of Next to Normal on the Kline Theatre stage at Brua Hall, water leaked in through the ceiling, misting the actors and dripping onto the set and band. The performance did not halt; actors and stagehands brought on towels to dry off the stage during the show.

During the downpour, the Shots in the Dark Improv Comedy Troupe was warming up around 7:45 p.m. to perform their Lol-O-Ween Show at Waldo’s & Company when water started pouring in under the back door. Once the troupe realized that Chris Lauer and the rest of the Waldo’s crew needed assistance, they jumped into action and became “Shots in the Dark Improv Home Repair,” according to Shots President Isaac Briggs ’20.

“A few of us grabbed mops and dustpans and started scooping water into buckets and trash cans, a bucket brigade was formed to get water out of the rapidly flooding back stairwell (which was about 2-3 feet deep at the worst of it), and we were all looking for things to either dam the door or cover the back stairs,” Briggs said in an email.

(Video courtesy of Katie Madore)

After the rain died down at close to 8:45 p.m., the student performers still performed their show for an audience of about 20 people.

At around 11 p.m., a follow-up email was sent sharing that Facilities and DPS successfully addressed issues with flooding, but problems with street flooding persisted. In this email, Lafferty affirmed that the college would be open on Friday, Nov. 1 unless otherwise noted. By Friday morning, North Washington Street had been cleared and made passable for cars and the Tiber had also shrunk back to its normal size; classes and business resumed as usual at Gettysburg.

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Author: Phoebe Doscher

Phoebe Doscher ’22 is the News Editor for The Gettysburgian. She previously served as a staff writer, features section copy editor, and Assistant News Editor. Originally from Sandy Hook, CT, she is an English with a Writing Concentration and Theatre Arts double major. Aside from writing and editing, she studies voice at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music and can often be seen working on and offstage in the theatre department.

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