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When it rained all day, teachers, students struggled to get home

The downpour on Sept. 29  made the commute home from school a challenge.
Rinaldo Castillo (Canva)
The downpour on Sept. 29 made the commute home from school a challenge.

When students and staff woke up to get ready for school on Friday, Sept. 29, the rain had already started coming  down in the Bronx.  During the day, the rain continued falling, flooding local streets, sidewalks and subway stations. Worried about the worsening conditions, parents picked up their children early. Others called, giving their children permission to leave before the final bell.

And some parents looked at the weather report that morning and just said no to school for the day. Attendance averaged 94-95 percent a week before. But on the day of the record-breaking storm, attendance dropped to 75, said principal Greg Fucheck.

Computer teacher Jennifer Lippold says her commute to school usually takes an hour and 45 minutes. On Friday morning, it took two hours:   “I saw three accidents in the morning alone,” says Ms. Lippold. “The amount of road rage I witnessed was ridiculous. The rain caused so many issues; I’ve learned to question coming to school during bad weather,” she adds. She usually does come in on days like this, but now may choose to take a day off and pay more attention to the weather forecast.

The Weather Channel reported that rain fell at rates of up to 2 to 3 inches per hour in some parts of New  York City. “That quickly flooded streets, trapped vehicles, leaked into basements, cascaded into subway stations and even flooded Terminal A at LaGuardia airport,” according to The Weather Channel.

Starr Giscombe, assistant principal and a former science teacher, said the rain had nowhere to go. (Myess Hammouri)

Starr Giscombe, an assistant principal and former science teacher at BRHS, explained the cause of the treacherous weather. “The hurricane from Florida ran up north and hit New York,” she said. “The city was hit the worst due to the waterways underneath all of the boroughs except the Bronx. The waterways are underground, so when it rains, the water builds up and has nowhere to go, causing it to rise.”

Climate change also played a role: The excessive heat caused by climate change evaporates the water on Earth, leading to denser clouds, which results in heavy rainfall.

Those who made it to school had to find a safe, although certainly not fast, way home.  Ruben Santiago, a junior, got home at 4:30 in the afternoon. “My commute was bad; my bus got delayed 45 minutes,” he says. He usually comes to school on days like this, as he is “forced to go.” Ruben adds that he saw flooded streets and rats floating in the water. “I don’t really like the rain. I prefer snow,” he added.

Another student, Alexis Santos, a junior, had to share an umbrella with three boys. “Getting home wasn’t too bad,” he said. “It only took 40 minutes. I know some people had it way worse,” he said. He expressed that he usually does come to school on days like this because his parents pick him up.

Michelle Brummer, who commutes into Manhattan via mass transit, doesn’t mind bad weather, and it isn’t usually an issue for her, but it was different this time around. Although there weren’t any massive floods that she could see, she described the commute as “horrible.”

“I had to take an $85 Uber,” she said. “There were no trains to take from the Bronx to Manhattan.”

It took four hours for Evelyn Mendez, a 10th grade English teacher, to arrive home.  “I felt like I needed a boat,” she explained. “I left school at 2, and got home at 6 because all of the highways were closed. All of the cars were washed away, I saw pools of water.”

Ms. Mendez typically comes to school during bad weather, but this time the drive made her uneasy and nervous because she feared she wouldn’t make it home in the hazardous driving conditions. “I’ve seen people’s cars slide off of the road into ditches,” she said, adding that she’s had to deal with a lot of rodents following the downpour. 

Mr. Fucheck also had a really troublesome commute. He lives in Westchester County, but before he got home he received a phone call from his brother who was stuck in Manhattan. This took him three and a half hours in total. Although everyone was talking about huge floods on roads and streets, Mr. Fucheck didn’t encounter any because his GPS guided him along safe routes.

As a principal of the school, Fucheck says it’s his  responsibility to show up, no matter the weather. And so he purchased a four-wheeler so he could navigate through rainy and snowy days.

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About the Contributors
Myess Hammouri, Staff Writer
Myess Hammouri, a sophomore at Bronx River, likes playing chess.
Jomayra Amparo, Staff Writer
Jomayra Amparo , a 10th grader, enjoys the rain, nature, and eating.

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