South Bend school district started notifications of the school closure as early as 5:30 am, advising parents that school would be closed due to flood conditions and that school buses would not be running.
Posted on the Raymond School District website, postings of the closure advised that most roads were impassible after the 6 am automated phone call to parents alerted them of the closure.
Alerts also around 6 am coming out of Grays Harbor County reporting possible mudslide warnings to residents advising them to get out of their homes. Damage is much more dynamic in Grays Harbor County.
Around the Raymond, South Bend area, traffic along many roads was diverted, barricaded and re-routed because of the unexpected weather.
South Bend School District Superintendent Jon Tienhaara was out early with crews assessing the possible impact to the schools in South Bend.
"I have been up since about 2 am, working with crews to see what could be done about stopping water from entering the school," said Tienhaara.
Historically the school has had water problems and if not for the foresight of South Bend School District Maintenance Director Gary Wilson it may have been much worse.
"I was on site with Gary and it was determined that early-on we would not be having school in the morning. He advised that we get the alerts out. Our automated system was set to start texting, e-mailing and calling at 5:30 am. We can get the word out in about 10 minutes to people who are on the system," said Tienhaara.
In South Bend both the elementary and high school suffered water damage, but exactly how much is yet to be determined.
Posting updates Superintendent Tienhaara provided this comment, "At this point, we have water damage in the west end of the elementary school hallways and office. Though the water has now been removed, the carpets are wet. We have a carpet cleaner currently enroute to help us clean and restore the hallway and office carpets. We also have water damage in the vocational building consisting of the wood shop and Dan Raymond's classroom. Sump pumps are currently working to remove the water."
"The Koplitz Field House is another story. Water completely surrounds the building and the water level inside the building stretches across half of the gym floor. I could literally see water bubbling up through the volleyball standard holes. We believe the entire underlayment of the gym floor is under water. At this point, there is nowhere for us to pump the water, so it is impossible for us to remove the water. Even so, with the building surrounded and the underneath full, the water is not going anywhere. We are waiting for the water level outside to subside so cleanup efforts inside can take place."
Monitoring of the situation is on-going to determine how long the school will be closed. "The bottom line is that if we can not use the toilets, we will not have school. We will make that determination later after we deal with some of this water."
Several people of the community saw the need and responded.
"We have been thankful for the many people who came out to help this morning. At this point, we simply have to wait for the water levels to drop before we know what type of cleanup we will face. Once we understand what we will have to do, we may be able to use some help."
Giving his thanks to everyone involved the Superintendent closed out with these words, "Again, I would like to thank Gary and his entire crew, along with the school administrative team, several teachers, and other staff and community members who helped us out this morning. It was a great effort and everyone's help and support is very much appreciated. I would encourage people to also offer help to anyone living around the school or in the surrounding area, whose homes may have been damaged by the flood. I have heard that several homes have water inside. There are most likely families that could use help.
Additional reports from residents tell of backed up septic systems causing bathrooms to be flooded.
The rain is predicted to subside for the next few days and returning periodically through the week under partially cloudy conditions.
The rainfall comes on the heels of frosty mornings causing a few accidents over the weekend and past week.
Residents have been looking for sandbags to shore up their homes with the Raymond Fire Department advising people that the cache of sandbags expected from Aberdeen was underwater and could not be retrieved. South Bend was able to secure some sandbags, which went quickly during Monday morning.