St. Louis, Mo., Aug 22, 2023 / 12:30 pm
As the new school year began, students arriving at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, had two major obstacles to contend with — one originating in the sky, the other underground.
Tropical Storm Hilary made landfall in California as the first such storm to hit the state in 84 years. The storm was also notable for drenching many normally parched desert and mountain areas, causing widespread flash flooding.
New rainfall records were set throughout the state and flooding has been widespread, but, as of Aug. 21, officials have not recorded any deaths attributed to the storm, which they credit to effective planning. South of the border in Mexico, nearly 3,000 Mexican Marines were mobilized to provide aid and one person was killed by rushing floodwaters, The New York Times reported.
For Thomas Aquinas College, the storm brought high winds and three inches of rain. Students were moving into their dorms that day, and many took shelter there as they set up their rooms for the upcoming semester. Amid the wind and rain, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake rattled the mountains four miles southeast of Ojai, just a few miles from Thomas Aquinas’ campus. Newly hung photos began to fall from the walls, plaster chipped from the walls, and the buildings shook violently, reported Chris Weinkopf, executive director of college relations.