Photo by Julian Mark

A so-called “atmospheric river” will flow into San Francisco this weekend, and that means the habitants of the recessed areas around 17th and Folsom streets might experience flooding.

As usual when staring down a “rare tropical storm,” the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will set up flood barriers in the vicinity of 17th and Folsom to keep water out of surrounding homes and businesses.

In addition to the barriers, crews will monitor the area during the night and on weekends. Teams will be on call to keep leaves and debris from building up in catch basins.

Free sandbags are also available at SF Public Works Operation Yard at 2323 Cesar Chavez.

At around 11 a.m., crews were still installing the barriers at the intersection.

Anna Danner, a barista for the past two years at the Stable Coffee, which sits near the corner of 17th and Folsom, said the barriers have been effective. “I can’t remember the last time it flooded,” she said. “Since they started putting up the barrier, it’s gotten a lot better.”

She did, however, say the barriers could occasionally serve as barriers for the coffee shop’s business. The thigh-high plastic fortifications, she said, can cause some customers to believe construction is ongoing near the store. “They think we’re closed, to be honest,” she said.

Danner did not know about the $200 million drainage system slated to be built in the area that would nix the need for barriers at the intersection every time it rains for more than three days. The catch is that the improvement will take six years.

But, said Danner, “that would be awesome.”

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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