California Storm floods AGHS


The quad on Monday, January 9th.

Have you ever gone white water rafting? For thrill-seekers, Kern River in Southern California is a great option, sporting Class 4 rapids or, the Kings River, with Class 3 rapids. For those who don’t feel like traveling to find a white water adventure such as those, they need to look no further than Grand Avenue on Monday, January 9th, 2023.

Following the “Bomb Cyclone,” California experienced massive flooding. San Luis Obispo County was hit particularly hard, especially at Arroyo Grande High School’s campus. After the bulk of the rain fell, AGHS closed its gates on Tuesday, giving students the day off of school because numerous classrooms and buildings had been flooded with water, as well as various outdoor sections across campus.

AGHS head janitor, Jay Delory, was one of many members of the clean-up crew, on the front lines dealing with the natural disaster.

“[The campus] flooded twice; the first time it started flooding in the back, it wasn’t as bad as the second time. The second time, the culvert in the back overflowed both banks. Most of the water went into the varsity baseball field, flooded where the bleachers and announcement box were, and flowed out the gate,” Delory said. “It pretty much went into the auto shop yard, and then it had nowhere else to go so it started making its way to the library… I walked in water that was knee deep, we’ve never had that happen on this campus before.”

Sarah Krans, who works in the school’s library, recounted the experience.

“It flooded Monday afternoon, right as school was ending. It took a few days to dry it out… by Thursday morning it was usable again,” Krans said. “[The custodians] cleared all the furniture out of the way, then they brought in tons of dehumidifiers and fans, so for two or three days straight the fans and stuff were still going.”

Despite the inconvenience, the library was relatively unharmed.

“I feel like we got super lucky, not a single book was hurt. Some of the carpet panels were pulling up, so they may have to repair a few of those,” Krans said. 

A flooded classroom by the Library. (Brent Tuller)

However, the flooding in the library was nothing compared to some of the other classrooms.

“812, which is robotics, got hit the worst. What happened was all the water went under the roll-up door, like a garage… all the water went through there, flooded that room out, and then it went under/through the walls into 809, 808, and a little bit into 807. The library got a little bit wet, the auto shop completely flooded, the woodshop flooded, Photography 801- then some classrooms just had water under the doors in the 600 and 700 wings,” Delory said. “It was a total of I believe 10 classrooms and the library.”

School closure on Tuesday allowed janitors from across the district to tackle most of the storm’s damage. 

“The entire grounds crew from the entire school district was here on Tuesday… we used carpet extractors, wet-vac machines, squeegees- we had custodians come from other schools in the district to help us… they had to cut up some walls to get airflow in there so mold and mildew didn’t grow in there,” Delory said.

It isn’t often that California is hit with a storm as damaging as the one that hit the second week of January. But in the event of a storm of similar intensity, the district is planning ahead.

“The district is actually working with the city of Arroyo Grande and eventually CALTRANS to work on that culvert, to make it wider and probably deeper, so if something like this happens again it can hold a larger amount of water without overflowing the banks,” said Delory.

Thank you to the janitors and other people who helped out all across the state, and made our campuses safe.