Atmospheric river brings heavy winds, fallen trees and destruction to campus facilities March 14, 2023 — by Christina Chang Photo by Greg LouieFallen tree branches litter the ramp in front of the library. The Maintenance and Operations Team was quick to respond to destruction caused by the storm. Saratoga was drenched in heavy rain Tuesday, March 14, as California saw yet another powerful atmospheric river — a type of storm “named for their long, narrow shape and the prodigious amount of water they carry,” according to the New York Times. This follows a previous atmospheric river that loomed over the state last week. The National Weather Service issued a High Wind Warning for the San Francisco Bay Area at around 12 a.m. Tuesday morning. Saratoga and its surrounding area saw gusts of wind 55 to 70 mph. The conditions are forecasted to continue until 11 p.m. Tuesday night. With heavy winds toppling trees and powerlines, some families reported power outages. However, Saratoga High still had electricity; principal Greg Louie announced the Student Center would be open until 6 p.m. Tuesday night for student use. As a safety measure, students were required to eat indoors during lunch so as to remain protected from the strong winds and falling tree branches. Some campus activities, such as swim and Speech and Debate practice, were canceled due to the inclement weather and power outages. Louie sent out an email to all staff after school notifying them of the damage the heavy storm inflicted on the campus. The top of one of the redwood trees broke off and appeared to have flown northeast; it now rests on top of the gym roof. Additionally, a number of other broken branches lined the ramp along the side of the gym leading to the library. A similar situation of fallen branches occurred with the large redwood tree by the cafeteria. School resource aide Tammy Coe, assistant principal Matt Torrens and college and career counselor Brad Ward surrounded the area with benches and taped it off with caution tape. A tree also snapped in half on the other side of the cafeteria facing the parking lot. Two large branches from a tree in the parking lot also fell and narrowly missed some of the parked cars. In regards to sports facilities, the outdoor basketball courts’ floor was lifted and rolled. The wind screens between the tennis courts violently flapped in the wind. The baseball batting cage sign also sustained some damage. Additionally, a large branch fell on a bin near the softball field, and the tarps to the softball batting cages were thrashed and will require replacement. Still, Louie said he was proud of how the school handled the inclement weather. “I hope everyone is safe and well,” Louie said, in the email sent to all staff members. “I want to take a moment to thank our Maintenance and Operations Team for responding to our needs to tape off areas, respond to broken branches and clean up the general destruction that came from the tremendous winds.” All visuals courtesy of Greg Louie 3 views this weekAbout the contributorsChristina ChangChristina Chang, Class of 2023, is an Editor-In-Chief of the '22-'23 Falcon staff. Previously, she served as a Sports Editor and local events beat writer for the '21-'22 staff and a Reporter and Layout Artist for the '20-'21 staff. During her time with The Falcon, she covered community news like the breakdown of city budget allocations and the first Blossom Festival post-COVID; wrote a series addressing mental health; profiled teacher friendships amid the pandemic; reported on the return of in-person learning and sports after shelter-in-place; and authored a narrative reflecting on her own basketball journey of eight years. Christina was named one of four finalists for Youth Journalism International's 2023 Student Journalist of the Year and one of seven finalists for the National Scholastic Press Association's 2022 Writer of the Year. She has received 23 journalism awards at the international, national and regional levels; her works have been recognized by Youth Journalism International, National Scholastic Press Association, Journalism Education Association of Northern California, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and Santa Clara University. To further her journalism experience, she attended workshops during summer 2022 hosted by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, California Scholastic Press Association and Stanford Daily. She will fondly remember The Falcon as a highlight of her high school years, and will forever cherish the memories created during monthly deadline nights, enjoying catered food and chatting with fellow staff members while rushing to finish each print edition. Outside of the J-room, she enjoys getting involved in the community through volunteering with local nonprofits and school clubs as well as exploring her interests and creativity through art.