San Francisco's public schools will be closed today due to a major storm anticipated to soak the Bay Area until Friday.
The San Francisco Unified School District announced the districtwide closure Wednesday afternoon after recent reports from the National Weather Service estimated that the region will see the strongest winds between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. today.
It is the first time the district has closed public schools since Sept. 11, 2001.
Superintendent Richard Carranza said he recognizes the impact of closing schools for a day but believes the storm could trigger a number of difficulties, primarily in ensuring the safety of students getting to and from school. Power outages are possible as well.
“In addition to student absences, the storm could result in large numbers of staff absences, which could then lead to inadequate supervision of our students,” Carranza said in a statement. “Furthermore, power outages could affect the district's ability to feed students' school meals, among many other operational challenges.”
Schools are expected to reopen Friday, though district officials will monitor the storm and school buildings and determine by 5 p.m. today whether to close schools Friday.
At least two other Bay Area school districts, Oakland and Novato, announced closures for today in anticipation of the storm.
City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University officials also announced that the schools will be closed and no classes will be held today in anticipation of the storm.
Between 2 and 4 inches of rain is expected in San Francisco, along with strong winds that could bring down power lines and trees.
“If you don't have to be out and about, I would say stay home,” said Steve Anderson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service. “It's going to be pretty miserable — wet, windy and massive travel delays both at airports and on the highways.”
The Bay Area will likely see showers Friday as well, followed by a break over the weekend before a chance of rain Monday.
PG&E is advising residents to avoid touching downed power lines, and to report such incidents by calling 911 and then notifying PG&E at (800) 743-5002.
In the event of a power outage, residents should use battery-operated flashlights instead of candles.