Monday, July 15, 2019

Close Call As Storm Threatens to Flood Princeton High School

Inside our house this past Thursday evening, we could hear the unusual weight and density of the rain falling on the roof. The downpour was heavy enough and extended enough that thoughts turned to Princeton High School, and the possibility that it might have flooded for a third time. The first two floods caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Most of the damage was paid for by insurance, though the impact on the schools' ongoing insurance costs is unknown.

I headed towards the school on Franklin Avenue, which had turned into a river as the town's stormdrain system became overwhelmed.

The detention basin next to the PHS tennis courts was reassuringly doing its job, collecting some runoff.

The ecolab detention basin between the arts and science wings was more worrisome, filling to within one foot of overflow.

The concrete slab installed to block overflow from pouring down the steps into the PHS basement was reassuring, though the sandbags left over from the last flood had long since decomposed in the sunlight and spilled their contents.

The drain next to the back entry to the wooden stage--the stage that already had to be replaced twice due to past flooding--had not been overwhelmed this time, fortunate since the rotted sandbags would have been of little use.

Same story on the ecolab side of the musical arts wing.

The first massive wave of the storm had already moved through when these pictures were taken. Some re-engineering of Walnut Street last year, when the broad new sidewalks were installed, seems to have helped. What we don't know is what would have happened if the downpour had lasted another fifteen minutes. With an overheated planet lifting ever more moisture up into the skies, some day we'll likely find out.

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