The Great Monsoon

By: Patrick O’Neal and Bayleigh Davis

Cullowhee Dam photo by Bayleigh Davis

The rainfall that Cullowhee has been experiencing has not gone unnoticed by anyone. Four days of rainfall, flooding and poor conditions led to what many were calling the “monsoon.” However, it looks like the weather is finally clearing up now.

Some residents living along Scott’s Creek in Sylva have been forced to evacuate their homes. Many homes in the area are located in flood hazard zones. “This is exactly why there are rules about slope ordinances” said Dr. Cheryl Waters – Tormey, geology professor at WCU. When flooding occurs, structures located near rivers can be damaged and cause environmental harm as well by pollution.

This type of weather is not unprecedented, but it is typically caused by a part of a tropical system, however not in this case. “Weather patterns are not something that repeat themselves on a yearly basis, but could repeat on intervals of 5 years, 10 years, etc.,” said Waters-Tormey.

Cullowhee Creek overflowing near the track field photo by Bayleigh Davis

From a social perspective, damage to homes could be a prominent issue. If the people who built their homes near creeks and rivers received permission to build in a flood zone, they would be unable to purchase insurance for slope failures. These people could potentially be without homes if they could not prove there was inherent structural damage prior to the flooding.

In addition to local community members being affected by the “monsoon” students have also had to make adjustments to their day to day schedule. Some professors cancelled classes while others remained in session.

“It cancelled my last class, so it was kind of irritating”, said Dianna Almond, WCU freshman. “To have to go out in this weather for one class when they are back to back is ridiculous.”

Rapids in Cullowhee Creek near the Village photo by Bayleigh Davis

Battling the rain was a different challenge for some.

“Parking becomes an issue in the rain. Everyone wants to park as close as they can to where they have to go,” said Samantha Tillett, junior.