Rain Causes Floods, Wet Feet

Melting snow and rain caused basement flooding in many Harvard buildings, with the worst occuring in the sub-basement of the Fresman Union where the water-depth reached over two feet, Buildings and Grounds (B&G) officials said yesterday.

Lewis J. Tolleson, Jr., manager of the Union, said the flooding damaged water pumps, steam lines and water lines in the sub-basement as well as soaking rugs in the basement.

One Big One

Repair cost figures will probably not exceed $1000 in the Yard and River Houses area, Frank A. Marciano, superintendent of B&G for the area, said yesterday.

B&G officials declined to estimate repair costs in other areas.

A back-up of the Cambridge sewage system caused the flooding, Marciano said.

The back-up started at 9:30 Wednesday night, and by morning two inches of water covered the Union basement floor, and several feet of water filled the subbasement, Tolleson said.

A secretary who works in the union basement said "We've been swimming all morning."

Tolleson said it was unusual to get both rain and 21 inches of snow within a few days. The flooding was the "first in the union during the 32 years I have worked here," he added.

Problems due to the melting snow and the rain were campus-wide, B&G officials said. The Wigglesworth and Leverett House basements were flooded for a short time, and many buildings experienced roof leaks.

Marciano said B&G was busy sending crews with submersible pumps, centripetal pumps and water vacuums where necessary.

Besides ceiling leaks and basement flooding, many dormitories' lights flickered due to water reaching underground high-tension power lines, Marciano said.

B&G was as well prepared as possible for the thaw and rain, Marciano said. On Wednesday almost every available worker was out clearing ice and snow from the drains around campus, he added.

Flooding also forced the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) to shut down the Red Line yesterday because of deep water near the Kendall Square stop, but all other lines were running. The MBTA is operating a bus shuttle from Park Street to Harvard Square for the duration of the shutdown.

An MBTA statement on the shutdown did not indicate when the red line would be back in operation.

The slush and water created a nuisance for pedestrians. One sophomore entering the Yard through a flooded archway on Massachusetts Avenue said, "You really have to pick and choose where you walk."

Another sophomore added, the rainy weather "ought to be illegal."

A senior from Winthrop House said yesterday the weather has caused him no more trouble "than a few soggy socks," and he prefers snow over rain because it makes everything so much more picturesque.

The slush and water should freeze tonight as temperatures drop into the mid 20s, a National Weather Service statement said.