Cyclone Bomb Causes Floods on Campus

By Garret Leahy and Annette Mullaney,


Record rainfall last month in the Bay Area did not spare City College, causing flooding in several buildings at Ocean Campus and the parking lot of the John Adams campus.

At Ocean campus, the Diego Rivera Theater, Student Health Building, and the second floor of the Rosenberg library all experienced flooding, according to Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Construction and Planning Alberto Vasquez.

The Oct. 24 storm was the strongest in the Bay Area in 26 years, according to Golden Gate Weather Services. The merging of a “bomb cyclone” and “atmospheric river” dumped rain on the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, including more than 16 inches on Mt. Tamalpais in 28 hours. San Francisco experienced more than four inches in one day, more than the city normally sees the entire month of October.

The worst flooding at City College was at the Diego Rivera Theater, where water went up to the third row of seats. Technical Director of the Theater Arts Department ​​Patrick Toebe, who went to see the damage the day after the storm, said it took two days for building and grounds staff to pump out all the water. 

The floods add potential additional complications for the reopening of the theater. “There were already some mold issues we were dealing with, as the building was up for so long with no heat,” Toebe said. The college had actually just completed a mold survey, and was waiting for results, when the flooding happened, which may require a new survey. 

Toebe hopes that the theater will reopen soon, in time for Spring 2022 rehearsals and performances of a new stage adaptation by CCSF students of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. Students wrote the play in Fall 2021, taking advantage of the classic’s move into the public domain just this year.

“It’s really closely related to our world today in many ways,” said Toebe, adding that the play will also examine “how the media relates to political happenings.”

Toebe also said that to his knowledge, the theater last flooded in 2004 after heavy rain and construction that had blocked a drain. Keeping drains clear is crucial to preventing flooding, especially in the Diego Rivera Theater, which sits below grade.

Vasquez said that to prevent future flooding, the college “continues to clean and clear out area drains and roof drains,” and also needs to “replace and repair damaged underground pipes.”

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