Boca Raton: March downpour surprises city

By Sallie James

When it rains, it pours, which it did late in March inside City Hall when heavy storms blew through southern Palm Beach County and a clogged roof drain caused a huge leak.
During a driving rainstorm on March 24, rainwater pooled on a second-floor flat roof, sending water pouring through the second-floor ceiling and then onto the first floor at City Hall, at 201 W. Palmetto Park Road, said city spokeswoman Chrissy Biagiotti.
The result? A watery mess that caused more than 2 inches of water to pool on the first and second floors of City Hall. The soggy deluge displaced recreation services and risk management employees from their offices and temporarily shut down the one-stop customer service center.
“Thankfully we didn’t have computer and electrical damage,” Biagiotti said. “Restoration crews came in immediately and began their process of blowing fans, etc. There is no estimate on damages yet.”
“It’s crazy,” said City Council member Jeremy Rodgers, who was out of town and missed the flood. “I heard it happened because leaves gummed up the downspout. It just shows how maintenance is important.”
The storm kept Boca Raton Fire Rescue hopping. All 16 units from the city’s eight stations were busy all night answering calls, said Fire Department spokesman Aaron Oatley.
Buildings in other parts of the city also had flooding problems.
At the Town Center at Boca Raton mall at 6000 Glades Road, the heavy storms sent rain pouring through rear doors and into several stores, causing unwanted rivulets and puddles spread throughout.
Employees at Marciano women’s clothing store said their shop in the mall flooded when water poured in through a back room during the height of the storm.
“We had to evacuate customers out of the store. It [was so deep] it covered my foot. The floors were completely soaked. Water got under the tile,” said Marciano’s assistant manager Bea Lopez. Fortunately, no merchandise was damaged, she said.
Yankee Candle assistant manager Sandy Alvarez said the front of her store got wet but everything was fine.
“People were walking through puddles, especially near the food court,” Alvarez said. “In some areas there was enough water to cover your shoes.”
Business was back to normal the next day.
Flooding was also reported at Florida Atlantic University in the library area.

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