Penn Manor’s Perfect Storm Causes Early Dismissal

The rain was pounding on the school building, an unfamiliar sound after weeks of drought.

Rising water around the school and the announcement of an early dismissal Thursday excited students, but brought troubles to the custodians of Penn Manor High School.

Janitor John cleaning up. Photo by Kyle Hallett

“Attention all students and teachers, due to the inclement weather, school will be dismissed at one o’clock,” said Jason D’Amico, assistant principle at Penn Manor over the loudspeaker at the beginning of block three.

Superintendent Michael Leichliter sent an e-mail to district employees at 11:30 a.m. telling them that  Lancaster County Emergency Management were not mandating a school dismissal, they were strongly suggesting it. The superintendent decided to proceed with caution and send students home.

“People were telling me that we were getting an early dismissal today, but I didn’t believe them. Then I heard the announcement Mr. D’Amico made, and now I’m really exited,” said senior Coty Johnson.

But not everyone greeted the storm.

Rain seeped through the walls in the girl’s locker room, dripped in the coaches room and flooded the hall below the big stairs.

Students were not allowed to travel these hallways and were forced to detour.

Ryan Connelly, a senior, was one student who was affected by the flooding.  “The stairwell by the entrance to the weight room was ridiculous,” he said.

Mike Weimer, a custodian at Penn Manor, was cleaning up puddles and pools of water all morning.  The low spot below the big stairs was filled with almost two inches of rain and took an hour to clean, he said.

Another school custodian, John Wealand, who was cleaning up the mess the rain caused said, “we’ll have to stay on top of it throughout the day.”

The custodians used shop vacuums to suck up the water and concluded that there was no damage done by mid day on Thursday.  Unfortunately, the water was still coming in the school.

Photo by Kyle Hallett

According to The Weather Channel, Lancaster is under a heavy rain threat that has been dumping two to five inches of rain in the central Pennsylvania region.  The flow of moisture out of the tropics and the remnants of tropical storm Nicole following close behind is to blame.

The other good note about the storm is that weather officials say it is putting a dent in the deficit of groundwater the area has been experiencing since August.

But too much of a good thing can be a hazard.

Douglas Eby, dean of students at Penn Manor, said due to the amount of rain, roads are flooding, and is posing a safety hazard to motorists.

“It’s our responsibility to keep the students safe,” Eby said.

By Cree Bleacher