Folsom and 17th Street.

After the Bay Area weathered an “atmospheric river” and “bomb cyclone” over the weekend, it seems the storm has left the Mission District with relatively little damage. 

While there were piles of wet leaves sticking to the sidewalk and scores of fallen branches and devastated trees, here are the findings, most businesses and homes avoided severe flooding or serious water damage, according to city staff and residents interviewed by Mission Local.

The neighborhood’s trees, however, failed to fare as well. 

Public Works identified fallen trees on the 900 block of Church Street near 21st Street, the 1400 block of South Van Ness Avenue near 25th Street, the 2400 block of Bryant Street near 22nd Street, 17th and Capp streets, near 18th Street, and Treat Avenue and Folsom Street. 

As of Sunday night, “San Francisco Public Works crews, working throughout the downpour and high winds, responded to some 160 clogged catch basins and 170 tree-related calls for service over the weekend,” Gordon said. 

By Monday morning, the tree-related calls had hit 700. 

“Tree crews are prioritizing life-safety hazards, blocked roads and sidewalks and compromised power lines. Once the storm passes, we expect cleanup will take days,” Gordon continued.

Francisco, a Public Works employee, loaded fallen branches near Rosas Jabalí Bistro late Monday morning, and said he was one of six trucks assigned specifically to help clear the sawed-off branches on Folsom Street. “This storm did some real damage. The things I’ve seen … it’s all over the city!” Francisco said. 

He pointed across the way to a tree leaning at an unseemly angle. “That barely looks like a tree anymore.”

Ollie Bradshaw, another Public Works employee on Folsom Street, agreed. “We’re having calls from all over the city, people complaining about trees falling away from their own,” Bradshaw said. He guessed all the resulting debris would be removed “probably tomorrow, end of the day.”

San Francisco Public Works Ollie Bradshaw on Folsom Street. Photo by Yujie Zhou.


There was no major damage on 24th Street, save for sections that crossed battered Folsom Street. Flora from Rosas Jabalí Bistro said her store didn’t suffer any flooding, but there were fewer customers than usual on Sunday. About midday, firefighters came by and sawed off the branches on some trees lining Folsom Street, and they remained on the sidewalk Monday; the city will collect them later on Monday, she said. 

“The wind was too strong,” Flora said about the trees. 

No rock slides or soil erosion had been found as of Sunday night, but geotechnical engineers are assessing vulnerable areas, Gordon said. 

On Sunday, a tree fell and blocked a bus route on Mission Street between Cesar Chavez and Precita, but was cleared by mid-afternoon. Come Monday, Cesar Chavez appeared nice and clean. 

Rene Intriano blasted music while sweeping up the deluge of leaves littering 24th Street outside of House of Color, the Benjamin Moore paint store, on Monday morning and reported no major impact.

“Nothing, no damage,” said Jaime, a manager at La Espiga de Oro. “That’s good. That’s the last thing we need. People were running around yesterday … but they always are!”

The grocery displays outside El Chico Produce #4 didn’t even need to be taken inside, as they were protected by the overhang, said the cashier on Monday. The sidewalk just needed a little clean-up, she said in Spanish, but customers weren’t deterred. “It’s just water falling from the sky,” she shrugged. 

Folsom Street, which historically has had several feet of water pouring into residents’ basements and garages, appeared relatively dry. In the past, flooding has been so severe, residents and some businesses pursued litigation against the city for water damage. 


This weekend was a different story, however — perhaps because residents geared up for the storm. The city sent out emergency texts and offered sandbags and flood barriers at the start of the weekend. About 3,000 free sandbags were handed out to residents at the Public Works operations yard, according to spokeswoman Rachel Gordon on Sunday night. Weekend distribution is unusual, but Public Works anticipated that  “demand would be high.”

Samuel Picazo Ponsetta, who has lived at 17th and Folsom streets for 51 years, sat Monday morning in his open garage surveying the  floodgates lining his block. The city supplied those on Friday, Oct. 22. 

“It’s the same every time,” Picazo remarked in Spanish. He pulled up photos from six years ago where the entire intersection was flooded. That level of flooding — 48 inches — “has happened 10 times in 50 years.”

The water is scared of the floodgates, Picazo joked, so when they remove the floodgates tomorrow or Wednesday, the rain will probably arrive. “No lluvió mucho … Maybe tomorrow it’ll come,” he said. 

Folsom Street and 17th Street.

James Lok said the landlord at Ed Arroyo Auto Body, where he works, put up $40,000 floodgates to prevent flooding. “We were good for this storm. We’re the only ones on the street that have this system,” Lok said. 

On Monday, Robin’s Cafe and the affordable housing development at 16th and Folsom streets emerged unscathed. 

Nearby, at Folsom and 17th streets, sandbags and barricades were plentiful, and most people said they weren’t affected. 

Juan Gallardo, owner of Gallardo’s, a popular Mexican restaurant that often gets flooded in storms, said, “We prepared sandbags yesterday, just in case. Everything is good.”

Folsom Street between 17th and 18th streets.

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REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

"Annie" is originally from Nebraska, where she found her calling to journalism as editor of her high school newsletter. Before returning to the field, she studied peace and political science in the Balkans, taught elementary and middle school, and worked as an epidemiologist during the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow her on Twitter @anlancheney.

REPORTER. Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim nearly 10 years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

REPORTER. Yujie Zhou is our newest reporter and came on as an intern after graduating from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She is a full-time staff reporter as part of the Report for America program that helps put young journalists in newsrooms. Before falling in love with the Mission, Yujie covered New York City, studied politics through the “street clashes” in Hong Kong, and earned a wine-tasting certificate in two days. She’s proud to be a bilingual journalist. Follow her on Twitter @Yujie_ZZ.

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