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Heavy rain continues to affect UCLA community as classes remain scheduled

Pictured are students with umbrellas during a previous rain storm in 2023. On Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a rare flood warning for Central and Western LA County. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Alexandra Crosnoe

Feb. 4, 2024 8:02 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 5 at 11:32 a.m.

Students reported disruptions to academics, classes and residential life as storms and heavy rain arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday.

On Sunday afternoon, as record-breaking rains began to fall in LA County, the National Weather Service issued a rare flash flood warning for Central and Western LA County until 12:01 a.m. Monday. Later on Sunday, high winds and dangerous flooding caused by the storm led Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency in the county. Rain is expected to continue throughout the week, with the heaviest downpour Sunday and Monday, according to ABC News.

Despite the weather, UCLA said in a 6 p.m. statement that no changes to campus operations are expected.

“Based on discussions with our campus response teams regarding current information and weather predictions associated with the storm, campus will remain open tomorrow, Feb. 5, and classes will occur as usual,” it said in the statement. “However, extra caution should be used while commuting to campus as some roads may experience localized flooding.”

In the statement, the university added that it is helping managers and supervisors make arrangements for commuting employees if doing so meets departmental needs.

Students living off-campus on Gayley Avenue, Landfair Avenue and Midvale Avenue also reported experiencing power outages at around 8:10 p.m. on Sunday evening. On Monday morning, students reported flooding issues at Melnitz Hall and a felled tree in Kerckhoff patio.

Many students on the Hill opted to stay inside due to the rain and strong winds, as they were not prepared for the severity of the weather.

Kaito Shawt, a first-year gender studies student, said the rain negatively affected his day’s plans, preventing him from picking up groceries and other essentials in Westwood. He added that since he is from Southern California, he was not expecting the abundance of rain and did not pack an umbrella when he moved into his dorm.

According to CNN, nearly half a year’s worth of rain could fall on Sunday and Monday in LA. Maya Sano, a first-year psychobiology student, also said she feels that the rain in LA is particularly abnormal. She added that the last time it rained, her teachers were surprised that students even showed up to class.

“I’m from here, so I guess rain really does affect us,” Sano said. “A little bit of rain goes a long way.”

Students also reported overcrowding in buildings as people sought shelter from the rain. Lily Stockton, a first-year dance and public affairs student, said The Study at Hedrick was completely full Sunday, adding that when she got up briefly to look for an outlet, her seat had already been taken.

Dining halls saw similar issues. The line at takeout dining hall Rendezvous extended outside the restaurant as students waited for food to take back to their dorms.

The heavy rain also coincided with many students’ midterm examinations, complicating their study plans and forcing them to find alternate locations.

“I try to study out in the libraries, but to avoid the hassle, I’m doing it in the (dorm) lounge right now,” Shawt said. “It’s a little harder to study, but it works.”

As of 7 p.m. Sunday evening, the university had yet to announce any cancellations of on-campus activity, despite the state of emergency. Some instructors have already moved their Monday classes to online formats.

However, Colin Pham, a first-year business economics student, said he would still be attending his in-person economics lecture because attendance is mandatory.

Shawt added that because of his upcoming midterms, he plans to attend class so long as UCLA does not cancel them.

“It would be cool if there was initiative to put classes online, just for convenience’s sake,” Shawt said.

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Alexandra Crosnoe
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