Stormpocalypse it was not, but Bay Area did take a weather beating Thursday 

click to enlarge Two boys who had the day off from school Thursday due to the storm trudge through the water on Mission Street at Russia Avenue. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Two boys who had the day off from school Thursday due to the storm trudge through the water on Mission Street at Russia Avenue.

A storm of biblical proportions -- a stormpocalypse, a stormageddon? Um, no.

The storm of the century arrived to much anticipation Thursday, drenching San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area, causing power outages, flooding and dozens of downed trees. But the region fared pretty well considering the hype.

About 6 a.m., San Francisco experienced the peak of the biggest storm to hit the area in five years, when the heaviest winds reached 43 mph, National Weather Service forecaster Diana Henderson said. Rain continued to fall throughout the day as winds calmed down to around 5 mph by late morning.

Power outages prompted the closure of the Montgomery Street transit station for around five hours. The San Bruno BART station closed briefly as well due to flooding.

As of midafternoon, 60,800 PG&E customers remained without power in San Francisco, down from some 100,000 in the morning. There was no estimated time when power would be restored to the remaining customers, said utility spokesman Jeff Smith.

At least 50 properties in The City were damaged by flooding, primarily in the area of 17th and Folsom streets in the Mission -- a pocket of town that historically floods during intense rainstorms, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokesman Tyrone Jue said.

"It is a low-lying area of The City, [so] much of the water from the eastern part of The City drains into that area," Jue said.

The storm wreaked havoc on other parts of San Francisco, too. On Treasure Island a small landslide was reported, and a fallen tree trapped a resident inside their home, though no one was injured in either incident, said Rachel Gordon, a spokeswoman with the Department of Public Works.

Flooding was also reported along Alemany Boulevard and the Cesar Chavez Street offramp from U.S. Highway 101. A car became stuck in a flooded roadway at San Jose Avenue and Monterey Boulevard, and about 60 trees or large limbs came down, including onto several cars, though no injuries were reported in any incidents as well, Gordon said.

Still, there was no question that many residents had a difficult time getting around Thursday morning.

Rick Borrego, 22, a delivery truck driver for OnTrac, said the commute from his company's warehouse in South San Francisco to downtown San Francisco usually takes about a half-hour. But because parts of Highway 101 were flooded and traffic was only allowed in a couple lanes, it took him closer to two hours.

As he unloaded his delivery truck at 3 Embarcadero Center on Thursday morning, the South City resident said power outages at 1 Embarcadero Center left him with a pile of boxes he will have to deliver today on top of his normal deliveries.

Overall, the storm appeared to bring "a lot of inconveniences" to residents, though "nothing extraordinary" happened from the rain or wind, Gordon said.

Nevertheless, she acknowledged that the scene on streets around town was messy.

And outside The City, stormageddon -- which, along with hellastorm and stormpocalypse, became popular hashtags on Twitter -- definitely seemed to be a reality.

For instance, a strong wind gust blew down an 80-foot fir at a Santa Cruz elementary school, pinning a sixth-grader by the arm for 15 minutes until rescuers sliced up the tree to get the student out.

In Healdsburg, city offices were closed Thursday and a half-dozen streets remained shut in the afternoon. A flood advisory was in effect for San Mateo County until 6:30 p.m. Thursday. And flooding closed all lanes of state Highway 1 from Panoramic Highway to Muir Woods in Marin County.

Meanwhile, flooding dampened many evening commutes. As of 4:30 p.m., all lanes of westbound state Highway 37 in Novato were closed from flooding, as were both directions of state Highway 13 near Interstate 80 in Berkeley and multiple lanes of eastbound state Highway 92 between Interstate 880 in Hayward.

Traveling in San Francisco did become easier by the afternoon. Ferry service that was canceled Thursday morning, including the Harbor Bay and Oakland-Alameda routes to The City, was back up and running by evening.

The Embarcadero between Pier 39 and AT&T Park was closed to traffic temporarily due to high surf, but reopened in late morning. The Great Highway, which was closed Wednesday night, was expected to remain closed until 10 p.m. Thursday.

A half-dozen Muni lines were rerouted in the morning due to power outages, but by midmorning, all lines were operating on their normal paths, albeit slowly, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose said. Parking meters were not enforced Thursday.

San Francisco International Airport experienced flight delays throughout the day. By midafternoon, flights were delayed an average of 53 minutes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website.

Four library branches in San Francisco were closed Thursday due to power outages: Marina, North Beach, Presidio and Western Addition.

The San Francisco Unified School District, City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University -- all of which closed Thursday because of the storm -- were expected to reopen today.

Rain was anticipated to continue in The City today, with a slight chance of thunderstorms, said Henderson, the National Weather Service forecaster. San Francisco will likely see a break in the rain over the weekend, followed by a chance of showers beginning Sunday night through Wednesday.

Examiner Staff Writer Jonah Owen Lamb and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Bio:
Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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