Third storm of the week brings flooding to San Francisco streets 

The third rainstorm to pound the Bay Area in the past five days disabled public transit, flooded storm drains and caused thousands of power outages across San Francisco on Sunday.

According to the National Weather Service, 1.03 inches of rain had fallen in downtown San Francisco by 11 a.m.
“It was a pretty intense band of rain that moved right through The City,” said Austin Cross, a meteorologist with the weather service. “It was a similar amount of rain as the previous storm, but it happened rather quickly.”

Rain began falling Sunday at 5 a.m. Skies cleared about 11 a.m.

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A total of 3.77 inches of rain has accumulated in San Francisco since Wednesday, when the first storm arrived.

The five hours of rain and strong winds Sunday were intense enough to flood the Church Street Muni station, shutting down Metro service from West Portal to The Embarcadero, agency spokesman Paul Rose said. Shuttle buses were in place most of the day as crews worked to pump water from the tracks. The water was finally cleared by 1 p.m.

BART also had its share of delays. A power outage about 9:20 a.m. stopped trains for an hour. The outage affected the BART Operations Control Center, which supplies power to the trains, and caused systemwide delays for much of the day. Another power issue about 2 p.m. halted trains for 20 minutes.

In neighborhoods throughout The City, residents dealt with downed trees and power outages. Wind gusts, which reached 60 mph, were powerful enough to snap a pole in two on 38th Avenue in the Sunset district, PG&E spokesman Joe Molica said.

Rachel Gordon, a Department of Public Works spokeswoman, said more than 40 fallen trees were reported, including one that blocked the roadway at California and Cherry streets in Laurel Heights. At least 10 cars were reported to have been damaged by trees and branches.

Trees also toppled in many parks, including Washington Square, Mt. Davidson and Golden Gate Park. The storm also forced the closure of several roads in Golden Gate Park, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, 25th Avenue, and 47th Avenue between Fulton Street and John F. Kennedy Drive.

Backed-up storm drains flooded dozens of intersections throughout The City. Around Buena Vista Park, the drains were so backed up that they covered portions of Haight Street with water. The Police Department’s Park station also had minor flooding when a drain outside clogged.

Some residents said the rain was so intense early Sunday that they could have gone tubing down 18th Street at Castro Street.

Flooding also occurred at 14th Street and Duboce Avenue, Gough and Hayes streets, and Van Ness Avenue and Market Street.

Crews working to clean up the mess and restore power to the more than 8,000 customers who lost electricity Sunday were given some relief midday when the powerful storm system moved out of the area.

Cross of the National Weather Service said the Bay Area will have a break from rain until Tuesday, when another storm is expected to come through. But chances are it will not leave behind the same kind of mess.

“It doesn’t look quite as intense,” Cross said.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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