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Throughout the day, our reporters will be out and about in the Mission and further afield to keep you updated on the storm.

Refresh the page for the latest information on flooding, shelters and other storm-related news. You can get in touch at info@missionlocal.com.

20-odd city workers move encampment across the street: Thursday, 6:40 p.m.
Alameda Street at 2:48 p.m., Jan. 5. One hour earlier, these tents were on the other side of the street. Photo by Yujie Zhou.

In the aftermath of last night’s deluge, five city departments this afternoon were involved in relocating fewer than a dozen homeless people from one side of the street to the other: That is, from the north side of Alameda Street to the south side of the same street.

This crossing of the street was for health purposes, according to Sam Dodge, director of the city’s Healthy Streets Operation Center (HSOC). “There were a lot of feces on the side of the street where they had been. And there are a number of disease vectors associated with that,” he said. “And there is a need to have some cleaning..”

The Healthy Streets Operation Centre launched the joint field operation at 1 p.m. with 20-odd representatives from the Department of Public Health, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, the San Francisco Fire Department’s Community Paramedicine division, the police, and the Department of Public Works.

Dodge explained that a large crew was present to help get people out of the storm, and to transfer to shelters and permanent housing. Eleven homeless residents were transported from their tents behind Best Buy to indoor accommodations. Most of the residents were taken to the Division Circle Navigation Center near 13th Street.

A group of seven Latinx residents remained at the site, waiting for enough beds to move into the shelter together. And about four homeless people rejected today’s offer for different reasons, including fear of harm inside the shelter and health concerns.

Though the homeless residents at the site were given a week’s notice of today’s move, a fair number of minor clashes occurred this afternoon. The homeless residents did not trust the city workers around them, yelling that they were being threatened and their belongings were being taken without permission. The workers denied these accusations. 

Within two hours, around 3 p.m., the left side of the street, which had been filled with tents and debris, was empty. Meanwhile, multiple blue tents had been pitched on the right side.

The city workers then departed quickly, with a homeless woman’s black dog barking at them as they left. — Yujie Zhou

More than 22,000 San Franciscans lost power in storm: Thursday, 5 p.m.
A fallen tree at the corner of Folsom and 17th streets. Taken Jan. 5, 2023, by Yujie Zhou.

Since the Jan. 4 windstorm and deluge struck California, approximately 22,116 people in San Francisco lost power at one time, with a total of 91 separate outages in the city alone. That’s according to an email Mission Local received earlier this afternoon from PG&E spokesperson Mayra Tostado. The majority of those outages were caused by vegetation and debris striking power equipment due to gusty winds.

PG&E confirmed that many of the power outages did occur in the Mission, though the exact number is not yet known. 

At the corner of Folsom and 17th, an area notorious for being prone to flooding in heavy rain, Alfonso Echeverria, an employee of Hilde-Brand Furniture, was still cleaning up from Saturday’s flooding. As for yesterday, sandbags and barricades managed to hold back the water, although just outside the store, a massive tree was uprooted last night.

The situation was similar across the street where the ground level of the building is lower than the road surface. Samuel Picazo, who has lived at the corner for 52 years, said in his open garage today that, compared to Saturday, everything was fine Wednesday, not much water got inside — and even when it did, it came in very slowly.

Nevertheless, PG&E warned that “we’re not out of the woods yet,” and urged people to continue preparing for potential outages by having flashlights and extra batteries on hand. Have a go-bag prepared in case people need to evacuate, and never use candles due to fire risk. Any downed power lines should be reported to 911 and then PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. — Yujie Zhou

Lots of shelter beds empty: Thursday, 2:25 p.m.

According to Denny Machuca-Grebe, a spokesperson for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, the city dedicated 250 beds to sheltering unhoused people from the storm last night, but only 137 were claimed.

“Our teams were working diligently to make sure our unhoused neighbors had a warm, safe place to wait out the storm,” he said in an email. He said that 300 beds would be available tonight.

Five shelters are taking walk-ins for people seeking to get out of the storm. They are mainly clustered in the north-east of the city:

  • Next Door Shelter, Polk Street and Geary Street. Intake from 4–10 p.m.
  • MSC South, 5th Street and Bryant Street. Intake from 4–10 p.m.
  • Sanctuary 201, 8th Street and Howard Street. Intake from 4–10 p.m.
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral, Gough Street and Stevenson Street. Intake from 6 p.m.
  • SF County Fair Building, in Golden Gate Park near the Botanical Gardens. Intake all day up to and including Friday.

More information can be found on the department’s website. —Will Jarrett

Mission residents’ experiences: Thursday, 2:15 p.m.

Roy Lewis, who we met on Wednesday from his prone perch under the awning at Valencia Whole Foods on 21st Street, said he did fine through the night, but the wind this morning was starting to blow droplets his way.

He still has no plans to move, and would only get up to get something to eat.

“They have a microwave inside,” he said of Valencia Whole Foods, “and their pepperoni pizza … man, it is good.”

Juan, a 90-year-old man waiting for the bus on 18th Street, said he was headed to the senior center on Diamond Street, where he would collect lunch, maybe do some exercising, and then head home. On Wednesday, he said, not many people were there and the exercise leader failed to show up. —Lydia Chavez

PG&E update on power outages: Thursday, 1:15 p.m.

PG&E Senior Vice President Janisse Quiñones is giving an update on the energy company’s efforts to combat power outages. You can watch along live on Facebook.

“The window for restoration is very limited for our crews,” said Quiñones, explaining that the multiple rounds of heavy weather make it difficult for workers to fix problems before the next bout of rain. She said that power outages were being caused by wind, flooding, falling trees, and unstable soil.

According to Quiñones, roughly 440,000 Californian customers have had their power knocked out as of noon today, due to this most recent storm. Of them, some 73 percent have been restored. Californian workers have been joined by crews from Oregon, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming to help fix the damage.

Last night, several thousand Mission residents lost power around 5 p.m. But data from the Department of Emergency Management indicates that the vast majority of them have now been restored.

Anandi Wonder, a Mission resident who has lived at 26th and Bryant streets for twenty years, said that her power was knocked out from 5 p.m. yesterday until roughly 11 a.m. this morning.

“There was a giant cracking noise from the transformer,” she said, and the power for a couple of blocks around cut out as the wind intensified. That meant a long night using candles and headlamps. Wonder added that although her gas heating was unaffected, plenty of neighbors rely on electric heating.

Wonder said that her area frequently has issues with power during high winds. What was different this time around was the time it took for teams to fix the problem: “I don’t think it’s ever taken less than five hours, but 18 hours was definitely unusual and over the line,” she said. —Will Jarrett

Morning update: Thursday, 9:30 a.m.

The Mission is waking up after a rough night, but things could be worse.

According to the SF72 emergency portal, the vast majority of power outages in the neighborhood have now been resolved. Along the main roads, most areas seem to have gotten away without major flooding. There are plenty of branches on the sidewalks, though, as well as the occasional uprooted tree.

The latest from the National Weather Service says that there is a flood watch in effect until at least 4 p.m. today. The forecast also indicates that there is a 100 percent chance of heavy rain in the city, with “showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 5 p.m., then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 5 p.m.”

Public Works has restored its sandbag supplies and is handing out up to five per household or business from the Operations Yard on Marin and Kansas Streets. Workers will be there until 8 p.m., or as long as their supplies last.

Public schools are still open in the city, as they were yesterday, although lots of parents decided to keep their children home anyway, with attendance in the Mission at an estimated 50 percent on Wednesday.

BART services are running, although they have warned of 20-minute delays due to the wet weather. The Red Line service southward is limited, as is the Green Line service between Berryessa and Daly City. Take a look at the BART and SFMTA Twitter feeds for up-to-date information on local disruptions from the storm.

We’ll be out today checking on how folks in the Mission have been affected and letting you know what to expect in the next few days. If you have any tips or pictures you would like to share, please drop us a message at info@missionlocal.com. —Will Jarrett

SFFD out looking for downed lines: Wednesday, 10:26 p.m.
The San Francisco Fire Department at Florida and 22nd Streets. Photo by Elizabeth Creely.

Elizabeth Creely, a contributor, writes that the San Francisco Fire Department was at 22nd and Florida streets tonight, looking for a reported downed power line. The storm plunged the blocks along 22nd, Florida, and those nearby into total darkness earlier tonight. 

As of 10:30 p.m. tonight, the Mission and Sunset districts and Southwest San Francisco were experiencing the most outages.

PGE outage map as of 10:30 p.m.

Scaffolding down, power out: Wednesday, 7:15 p.m.
Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan.

Scaffolding had crumpled off the side of a building onto power lines at 21st Street and South Van Ness Avenue on Wednesday evening, and PG&E trucks had blocked off South Van Ness around 7 p.m. No one was hurt and nearby cars weren’t damaged, a PG&E employee on site told Mission Local.

Lights were out for several blocks along 21st Street and nearby blocks of South Van Ness and Shotwell Street, leaving residents to peer out from their balconies onto darkened streets. —Eleni Balakrishnan

SF’s baffling lack of emergency homeless shelter capacity: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.

For the city’s unhoused residents, this is getting to be a grim and difficult night. As Mission Local reported both yesterday and today, the city has rustled up extra shelter beds, but only perhaps 170 or so. 

This, in a city with thousands of people sleeping out-of-doors every night.

So, that’s mind-blowing. And not just your mind or mine: The minds of city officials working with the homeless are also blown. 

Why has the city opened up the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park for shelter — yes, the Hall of Flowers, where you may have visited the Anarchist Bookfair — but not Moscone West or Bill Graham Civic Auditorium or Gene Friend Rec Center? All of these are far larger venues that are, bluntly, far more centrally located and accessible for most of the city’s homeless population. 

The answers we received from city workers were depressing, but not surprising. If tonight’s storm somehow forces a housed person out of his or her home and they wouldn’t want to go sleep in a homeless shelter, the Hall of Flowers is an alternative that’s “not all homelessy.” 

So, there you go. 

As for why the city hasn’t opened up Bill Graham or Moscone West, that’s a question that may loom large, depending on how badly the unhoused population does following tonight’s predicted deluge. Moscone West was opened during inclement weather last year. Its capacity was described to us by a city official as “infinite: It’s fucking huge.” 

Like, a lot bigger than 170 mats on the floor. 

Taking a step back from tonight’s immediate crisis, it warrants mentioning that San Francisco’s system for opening up extra shelter beds in rain and/or cold weather is inadequate and labyrinthine in routine storms, let alone the storm of the century. 

Finally, at some point, it’s simply inhumane and untenable for San Francisco to have so many unhoused people sleeping rough, storm or no storm. 

“Every day, it sucks to be homeless,” says a long-time homeless worker. “It doesn’t need to be a bomb cyclone; it’s hard to tell people, ‘No, no, no, now it’s really shitty; you have to come with us.’” 

“The problem isn’t the storm. It’s a constant storm.” —Joe Eskenazi

Power outages in the Mission: Wednesday, 6:15 p.m.

The city is reporting that significant areas of the Mission are experiencing power outages. According to the emergency portal SF72, the problems began shortly before 5 p.m. and are expected to be resolved by 7:30 p.m.

The exact cause has yet to be determined, and some 3,745 customers are estimated to be impacted. The power outage map, provided by the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, shows areas impacted from around 18th Street to 26th Street, with major disruptions around South Van Ness Avenue and streets from Treat Avenue to Potrero Avenue.

Power outages in the Mission. Map from SF72.

Multiple residents and businesses in the Mission have confirmed the power outages and have been sharing pictures on social media. —Will Jarrett

To eat or not to eat: Wednesday, 5:45 p.m.

If you want to eat or order out, you’d better check ahead. 

Already, neighborhood favorites like Bissap Baobab, Al Pastor Papi, and Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack have called it quits for the night. 

“I’m gonna go home, get under the covers and watch ‘Family Feud’ all night! See you tomorrow BE SAFE!” reads the Instagram post from Al Pastor Papi. 

As Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack wrote on the social media site: “Remember, turn around, don’t drown!”

But, thank goodness, some spots are still open for business. Why not make it worth their while? 

Gyros and Tzatziki, the new Greek spot at 24th and Folsom streets, is open today and tomorrow. We ordered Loltún for lunch, and their chicken escabeche was just what the doctor ordered. So is Flour + Water, though they do only walk-ups and not take-out. For a cozy drink, head over to Casanova Lounge, where hot toddies are being served up from 5 to 9:30 p.m. 

Beyond calling your fave restaurants and bars ahead of time, checking their posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook can often give you insight on the schedule when no one seems to pick up the phone. Best of luck. —Annika Hom

Update from the mayor: Wednesday, 5:10 p.m.

In a few minutes, Mayor London Breed is scheduled to give an update on the city’s response to the storm. You can listen in on the livestream below:

“911 needs to be used as a tool for emergency situations involving life or death only,” said Breed. “We are currently being inundated with a number of 911 calls, and they don’t all necessarily fit into that category.”

Breed added that floods were “inevitable,” but that non-life-threatening floods and issues with storm drains should go through 311, rather than 911. She asked people to stay home where possible, and said that high winds will mean falling trees and power outages.

The rainfall is “not letting up anytime soon,” and could cause mudslides, she added.

“The storm we have been waiting for is here,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, the Executive Director of the Department of Emergency Management. She said that their office will be operating throughout the night and asked people not to travel or go outside where possible.

“We want people to prepare for the likelihood of power outages,” Carroll added. She suggested storing water and having a flashlight close by, as well as checking on neighbors who might need help. —Will Jarrett

Latest from the National Weather Service: Wednesday, 4 p.m.

The National Weather Service said in a recent tweet that it expects the heaviest band of today’s rain to hit San Francisco between 5 and 8 p.m., a little later than originally expected.

The service is also advising people in San Francisco to “seek shelter in a sturdy structure” due to 50 mph winds.

Meanwhile, Public Works and the Department of Emergency Management are warning of potential power outages and are advising residents keep a flashlight to hand. —Will Jarrett

Homeless prepare for a cold, wet night: Wednesday, 3:45 p.m.

Yesterday, city officials said they deployed Homeless Outreach Team workers to flood-prone and encampment hotspots, including the North Mission, behind the Best Buy on Harrison Street, and near Division and Erie Street by 14th Street.

Santiago Lerma, legislative aide for Hillary Ronen, told Mission Local in a text that five people on Capp Street were placed into shelter.

Though Erie Street was tent-free today — suggesting residents may have relocated — unhoused residents at the Best Buy said city workers never came.

“We’re surprised, but not surprised. It’s not the first time they didn’t do us a favor,” said Amanda, who mentioned floating away on her box spring on New Year’s Eve.

The box spring is still out on the sidewalk, near soaked pillows, forcing Amanda to sleep on cardboard on the floor. It exacerbates her back pain, but at least she has a heater inside her tent. She is prepared to stick it out; the tent is preferable to a shelter because “I don’t have to breathe anybody’s air. I can smoke pot in the middle of the night, take a hit of weed.”

This time around, Amanda moved her tent from the corner of Alameda and Harrison streets further up the incline on Alameda. Her significant other bought her a tent repair kit, and she put up tarps. She bought this tent half-off at REI, and its sturdy metal poles protected her from an onslaught of water that caught the top in the last storm. “The tent went waaaah!” Amanda said, standing in a 49ers hoodie and beanie, shivering.

Around the corner was Kevin, who works in the Tenderloin. He bought his blue tent for $50 from a Dollar Store, which he hooked up to a car parked on Harrison Street. He said a homeless Oregon couple abandoned the car after losing the key. “This is my first time in it,” he said, referring to the tent.

Inside is a foam mattress. Kevin said the nearby Wag Hotel had thrown it out from the last storm. “I was going to buy a couple blankets; I got real cold last night,” he said. “I just bought shoes.” Yesterday, a “real nice” civilian woman gave out Subway sandwiches.

Kevin did the same on New Year’s Eve, dropping off food to folks from his scooter. He saw the entire area flooded. That night, he stayed with his sister in the Fillmore, but recently they got in a fight.

Kevin said the city workers didn’t come on Wednesday. However, some police officers arrived, and some “trash people.” They were allegedly responding to a disturbance complaint from a local business. He feels that resources are dwindling, especially since the Tenderloin Center closed; more Tenderloin unhoused folk are being “shepherded” to the Mission and Fillmore, he said. He wondered why more wasn’t being done for the homeless.

“If you know the storm is coming, and people don’t have much, there’s things you can get,” Kevin said. “Blankets. A sheet. You think there’d be a little more compassion.” —Annika Hom

The gathering storm: Wednesday, 3:05 p.m.

With the brunt of Wednesday’s storm due to hit in just under an hour, Rintaro’s wayward parklet sat half-on, half-off the sidewalk on 14th Street, beached like Noah’s Ark atop Mt. Ararat. If there was any tethering to prevent it from meandering off again, as it did during the deluge of Dec. 31, it eluded a cursory search.

At Rintaro, early afternoon on January 4. Photo by Joe Eskenazi.

The only thing lining up two-by-two in this flood zone is sandbags. At some establishments, they appear to have been tossed from a truck bed and sit haphazardly near an unguarded door. At others — notably, the Laborer’s union hall on 18th — they’re lined up with military precision.

One door down from Japanese restaurant Rintaro, the staff at Italian joint Pink Onion are putting the finishing touches on a shiny metal thigh-high barricade affixed to the wall and blocking the front door.

At the Pink Onion on 14th and Trainor Streets, early afternoon on January 4th. Photo by Joe Eskenazi.

Better late than never: On New Year’s, they were hit with perhaps two feet of flood water; untold quantities of produce were ruined, along with at least 14 fridges. The losses, say one worker, are still being calculated (and must include days closed; the barricade, clearly, is not conducive to a working restaurant). Another worker says he called 311 “so many times” and never received any aid from the city.

Not far off on 15th Street, a homeless man named Eric said he, too, would welcome some help from the city. If someone offered him any place with “some warmth,” he says he’d take it. As if on cue, the plywood board covering the entrance of a makeshift wooden lean-to he’s built on the sidewalk blows over in a gust of wind and hits the ground with a percussive slap.

A stone’s throw away on Folsom Street, Santos, who resides in an RV, says he’s put a tarp atop his home in anticipation of wet weather. The potted succulents strapped to the exterior, however, may be in for some overwatering. Between his RV and one parked behind him, Santos says he has 10 dogs — but don’t worry, he says. They’re tiny. As such, he is not interested in any shelter options where they can’t come along.

Up Folsom Street, built atop subterranean water and a perennial flood area, workers were putting in last-minute preparations for the gathering storm. Perhaps the most well-made flood barricade was the one crafted by the staff of Blackbird Guitars, who build instruments for a living, after all.

The behemoth blockade is about 12 feet long and four inches wide, with two handles atop it. It’s crafted of wood wrapped with carbon fiber, and weighs a metric shitload. 

Charles Mighetto says the blockade has kept Blackbird dry for several years, but massive losses were suffered several years back before its creation. 

And yet, his establishment was still soaked a bit during the Dec. 31 storm; water backed up through the toilet. Anticipating this, the staff had plugged up the commode, but the water surged with enough force to blow out the rubber stoppers and flood out at floor level. 

It was not clean water. 

As the sky turned gray, the residents of Folsom Street prepared for yet another deluge. Once more unto the breach, once more. —Joe Eskenazi

Schools remain open: Wednesday, 2:40 p.m.

Public schools are operating normally throughout today’s storm, which right now seems to be slightly weaker than expected.

In an email sent to parents yesterday by the San Francisco Unified School District, Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne noted that school cancelation is considered “a rare exception,” which can be burdensome to families, due to childcare and work schedules, and can result in a loss of instruction as well as access to important services.

However, not all parents agree.

At Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8, a lot of parents kept their children home today, according to principal Claudia DeLarios-Morán. For classes that are supposed to have 22 students, most have only about 15, and some had fewer than ten students.

The school warned parents about the weather conditions in advance, let them know how to pick up and drop off children inside the school building, and moved today’s recess and lunch from outdoors to indoors.

“The rain has started, so we’re worried about dismissal,” she said. “I’m worried about building flooding or leaking, just because of all of the history of the failures of the building itself. But so far, things have been okay.”

At other schools in the Mission, the attendance rate for today also appears to be around about 50 percent. —Yujie Zhou

Sign up for emergency alerts: Wednesday, 2:30 p.m.

One way to stay informed about flooding and other hazards in your area is to sign up for emergency texts from the city government. You can do this by texting your zip code to 888-777 or signing up on the AlertSF website.

It could also be a good idea to follow @SF_Emergency on Twitter, and you can watch out for on power outages using the SF72 interactive map. —Will Jarrett

Fight flooding, adopt-a-drain: Wednesday, 1:40 p.m.

As floods loom, a city scheme to adopt a drain has been doing the rounds on social media.

Adoptees are expected to keep the drains clear and, in return, they are allowed to name the drain on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s public website. Names include incredible offerings such as “It’s Draining Men,” “Drain ‘The Rock’ Johnson,” and “Thirsty Boi,” and there are still plenty up for grabs in the Mission. —Will Jarrett

New shelter added to roster: Wednesday, 1:20 p.m.

Rain has begun to beat down, and the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing has opened up an additional emergency shelter. The shelter can be found at the San Francisco County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park, near the botanical garden, and can be accessed any time from today until Friday.

It is not immediately clear how many shelter beds are available, but they will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. According to the department, guests will be served two meals a day. Service animals and up to two bags of belongings are allowed.

This pop-up shelter augments the city’s prior offering of four shelters opened to cope with the extreme weather. Those shelters have a combined capacity of 215 beds and can be found here:

  • Next Door Shelter, Polk Street and Geary Street. Intake from 4–10 p.m.
  • MSC South, 5th Street and Bryant Street. Intake from 4–10 p.m.
  • Sanctuary 201, 8th Street and Howard Street. Intake from 4–10 p.m.
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral, Gough Street and Stevenson Street. Intake from 6 p.m.

More information can be found on the department’s website. —Will Jarrett

Here comes the rain: Wednesday, 1:10 p.m.
A man hurries through the rain around 24th Street and South Van Ness. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan.
Foliage from nearby trees littered the sidewalk around 24th and Harrison Streets. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan.
Sandbags now available: Wednesday, 12:35 p.m.

The city has restocked its supply of free sandbags. Up to five per household or business are available for pickup from their Operations Yard at Marin and Kansas Streets.

Public Works intends to offer the sandbags until 8 p.m., but may run through their supply before then. —Will Jarrett

Ryan’s plans to avoid the storm: Wednesday, 12:10 p.m.

The generous awning of Diosa Blooms, at 22nd and Capp Streets, gave Ryan substantial shelter from the misty morning.

The 32-year-old self-described “Flat Earther” filed his nails and carefully raked a comb through his hair, killing time before his appointment at San Francisco General Hospital at 11 a.m.

Ryan wore a thin yellow poncho he got from a church group on Christmas, “what’s left of one,” he said, but news of the upcoming storm caught him by surprise. No one from the city has approached him about it in the last few days. 

“I didn’t even know there was one coming,” he said. His off-the-cuff plan? “I’ll probably go for a ride at BART. It’s always a warm place to go.” 

The last time Ryan recalled the city’s Homeless Outreach Team offering him shelter was last summer. He landed on a referral sheet, he said, but reached an impasse for refusing to give up his car. 

Ryan is originally from the mountains in Tennessee, but five years ago his RV broke down in Berkeley, and he’s stayed in the Bay Area since. He spent one year in San Francisco, deciding the resources here were better, though the city is crazier.

But today, he thinks, maybe the resources in Oakland might better prepare him for the storm. His plans for the day: Bus hopping and searching for food, perhaps visiting the homeless resource center St. Anthony’s. He takes a page with the HOT number; he may call with his phone after the appointment.

He couldn’t remember how he evaded the floods from New Year’s Eve, but figured he sheltered at a doorway, as he tends to do. That is what will happen if BART closes tonight. “I just stay in the Tenderloin.” —Annika Hom

Ryan takes shelter in the Diosa Blooms doorway. Photo by Annika Hom.
The Mission prepares: Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.

All was calm in the Mission this morning; in much of the neighborhood, it looked no different than like your typical slightly-drizzly day, except for the obvious preparation clothing-wise: Nearly everyone in sight was decked out in raincoats with hoods up, carrying umbrellas and wearing boots. But people walked to work, stopped at the grocery store. At La Scuola, hooded children kicked a ball around and shouted to each other.

When you round the corner onto Folsom Street from 18th Street, though, it’s clear something bigger is coming. It looks like construction at first, but if you read the sign near El Tepa taqueria closely, you’ll see it contains a warning. “Sewage Present,” it reads. “AVOID CONTACT.”

Then come the barriers. They start halfway up Folsom toward 17th Street, and round the corner on the south side of 17th Street to Shotwell. Extra barriers sit at the ready on 17th Street, unused.

Samuel Picazo sits outside, perched behind the row of flood barriers with his garage door open. He’s not sure why only his corner of the oft-flooded intersection at 17th and Folsom streets gets barriers from the city. “Discrimination,” he shrugs.

Anyway, this time he’s ready. “Other times, they put the barriers and the water doesn’t come,” he said. “Que llegue!” —Eleni Balakrishnan

Flood barriers set up around 17th and Folsom Streets. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan.
Homeless on Valencia Street: Wednesday, 10:45 a.m.

The wind has started to pick up a bit and the sky is spitting. The beginning, or just a morning spray? Only a few pedestrians braved Valencia Street.

A couple of homeless residents parked their cart outside of a laundromat, but inside, they said they had places to go.

Roy Lewis, a homeless resident, settled into his spot under the overhang at Valencia Whole Foods near the corner of 21st Street . The 80-year old “I keep trying to go back to 79 but that ain’t working,” has no plans to budge. “It’s going to be cool,” he said of the rain.

And if the water rises above the curb and starts flowing into his corner? “I’ll just find a place where it ain’t coming in.” —Lydia Chavez

Roy Lewis braves the weather on 21st and Valencia Streets. Photo by Lydia Chavez.
Storm inbound: Wednesday, 10:40 a.m.

Mere days after San Francisco was pummeled by strong winds and rain of more than five inches on New Year’s Eve, another storm is en route.

We are expecting the worst of the weather to hit around 3 p.m. and to last into the evening. An advisory from the National Weather Service indicated that the Bay Area should expect “widespread flooding, roads washing out, hillside collapsing, trees down, widespread power outages, immediate disruption to commerce, and the worst of all, likely loss of human life.”

The weather is being caused by a “bomb cyclone” developing along the Northern Californian coast. The cyclone is expected to mean periods of extreme weather for the next several days. Because the ground is already saturated from our recent storm, the risk of flooding is high.

Thousands of sandbags have been distributed by the city to shore up at-risk properties. As of right now, no more are available, but new supplies are expected later today. Shelters have been made available for unhoused people, although spaces are limited and will not be enough for everyone in need.

As of right now, all SFUSD schools are still open. A statement from Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne says that the district “is closely monitoring updates related to the storm in consultation with the City and County of San Francisco, and will provide additional updates to staff and families in case the situation evolves.”

Check back throughout the day for information on how the city is being impacted, where you can access services, and other storm-related news. —Will Jarrett

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  1. “the problems began shortly before 5 p.m. and are expected to be resolved by 7:30 p.m.” wouldn’t that be nice… 10:30 am here still no sign of workers or power

  2. Joe,

    City has made additional beds available and those beds are unfilled. Amanda and Ryan from Tennessee aren’t interested. Many others too. Lovely tent couple at the corner by me refused offer of shelter bed and while taking dogs for one last walk witnessed they found it an appropriate time to sweep out their site next to corner drain cover. Can you clarify baffling lack of emergency shelter capacity? If you can’t forcibly fill it why spend the cash on Moscone or crap up out beloved Bill Graham Auditorium?

    Heart breaking for Klay. Thought he had sealed the win.

    Stay dry. Don’t blow away.