Update 09/02/21, 9:04 p.m.: This article has been updated with a comment from Stony Brook University President, Maurie McInnis.
Stony Brook University’s Mendelsohn Community and other portions of the campus were submerged overnight on Sept. 2 by Hurricane Ida’s remains, with floodwaters reaching four to six feet inside some buildings.
The storm had the greatest impact on the Mendelsohn Community. Students were evacuated from the flooded residence halls at 2 a.m. and transported to East Side Dining. Power is currently down in the Mendelsohn buildings, and emergency crews are working to drain the flooded areas. Roads and parking areas have been cleared and dining and Stony Brook University transit services are up and running.
Local students are advised to return home over the weekend of Labor Day, while the remaining students will be temporarily moved for the repairs. Stony Brook has not stated where the students would be relocated or for how long.
Residents with vacant room spaces were alerted at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 2 that a temporary resident will be arriving today. According to the email, relocating students may stay in that location for “more than one night.”
Students recorded and uploaded videos of flooded hallways, dripping ceilings and overflowing ponds. Residents can be seen hauling their luggage and duffle bags throughout the East Side Dining and Mendelsohn areas, occasionally using them as pillows to nap after a long night.
Campus Residences is limiting access to the Mendelsohn community dorms because of safety concerns. Students looking to retrieve their essential belongings will be escorted in small groups from East Side Dining to their residential hall.
Tubman and West Apartments, as well as other residential areas and parking lots, were also affected.
In a statement to The Statesman, Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis stated that she intends to continue to support students who have been affected by the storm, as well as thanking the school’s facilities and service staff.
“We are thankful that everyone on campus is safe and our focus now is on helping those who are experiencing disruption,” McInnis said. “We are assisting affected students in four residence halls who may need a temporary residence on campus while power is restored and while clean up occurs. We are also offering flexibility related to academic commitments and providing basic support services to address their needs.”
Eliana Yens, a freshman environmental science major who lives in Gray residence hall, says her electricity went out after midnight. However, it wasn’t until approximately 2 a.m., when she heard fire alarms in nearby buildings sound, that a residential assistant in her building began knocking on doors, telling residents to evacuate.
“I remember asking, ‘We have to evacuate? Are you sure?’” Yens said. “I just needed to make sure I heard her right.”
She gathered her belongings—her computer, food and a tiny fan—and went to East Side Dining to join other students. Yens and many other students stayed in the dining hall until 5 or 6 a.m.; some are still lingering around the facility, waiting to be assigned a temporary residence for the next two to three days.
Crystal Zhang, a freshman living in O’Neill, is one of those students waiting outside of East Side Dining.
“When we were out, I thought maybe it was a false alarm or just a drill because the weather is pretty bad outside. I didn’t want to be out there for long,” Zhang said. “But after a good amount of time, maybe like 30 minutes, we had to evacuate to H-Quad’s lunchroom. It was really hectic and crazy.”
The newly rebuilt Student Union also bore damage from flooding. In one week, Stony Brook’s latest project went from a ribbon-cutting ceremony to a water damage closure.
At around 8:10 a.m. faculty working in the Student Union, the newest building on campus, was directed to work from home because of flooding in the building. Some professors have canceled class, others are giving residential students in these areas excused absences for today and tomorrow.
Crews are on the east side of campus assessing damages in all the buildings. According to Stony Brook’s Office of Enterprise Risk Management, no other buildings or residential communities have been severely affected.
Just days after bursting into Louisiana and inflicting havoc on the region, Hurricane Ida made landfall in the northeast. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City proclaimed a state of emergency at 11:26 p.m. on Sept. 1.
“We’re enduring an historic weather event tonight with record breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads,” de Blasio said in a tweet. “Please stay off the streets tonight and let our first responders and emergency services get their work done.”
The Statesman will continue to monitor this subject and report on any new information as it becomes available.
Contributed reporting by Sara Ruberg