A large storm that’s meant to wallop the state of California and dump up to seven inches of rain in San Francisco is spurring city workers to step up efforts to prepare for the onslaught.
Rain is expected to be at its heaviest on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, with gusts of wind that could reach 50 mph. San Francisco is under an official “wind advisory” from 4 a.m. to 1. p.m. on Saturday. Up to seven inches of rain are predicted for The City in the span of two days.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has issued statewide warnings about the upcoming storms.
“This series of storms could result in power outages, fast rise flooding, road closures and some localized needs to evacuate low-lying areas. Individuals and families should review their emergency and communications plans and supplies, such as having extra batteries, power sources for phones and tablets, and emergency food supplies,” he stated.
“The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services is working in close coordination with all counties, and state and federal agencies,” Newsom said. “The State Operational Center will be activated throughout the weekend and into next week to monitor situational awareness and coordinate the dispatch of resources and other assets to respond to emergency flood impacts.”
Preparations are being made by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to increase the number of shelter beds for San Francisco’s homeless this weekend. Seventy-five extra shelter beds will be added to the system; St. Vincent De Paul Society at 535 Fifth St. will add 25 mats to its existing shelter space, and Episcopal Community Services – Next Door Shelter at 1001 Polk St. will add 50 mats.
Those interested in the spots can go to 24-hour MSC-South Drop-In Center at 525 Fifth St. to sign up on the waitlist, which will run on a first come, first serve basis. The Homeless Outreach Team will be on duty talking to people living on the street and transporting them to shelters.
But even with extra places to sleep, it doesn’t appear that there are enough shelter beds for The City’s homeless. A report put out last month stated that the waitlist for shelter beds was over 1,000 people, meaning that many will be left out in the cold and rain this weekend.
San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission is also gearing up The City’s infrastructure for the storm, conducting deep vacuums of storm drains to clear debris, and handing out sandbags to residents who need them. If you’d like to pick up sandbags, they’re available at 2323 Cesar Chavez St. on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Proof of residency is required.
Emergency response and maintenance crews from Public Works, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Port of San Francisco and Recreation and Park Department are all available through the weekend to clear debris, maintain catch basins, and address flooding.
In addition, San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco Fire Department, and San Francisco Department of Emergency Management will all be fully staffed to deal with any extra incidents that may occur due to the severity of the storm.
SEE RELATED: Rain expected in SF tonight, over the weekend
But emergency resources aside, there are several things the public can do to keep themselves and one another safe. First, be aware of flooded areas—even six inches of water can sweep someone off their feet, and less than two feet of moving water can sweep away a moving vehicle. Floods can also conceal downed power lines and other debris, so whenever possible avoid walking or driving through floodwater.
If you spot downed power lines, call 911, but if you see fallen trees or flooded roadways, call 311.
In case of power outages, freeze perishable food, such as meat and dairy products. If food rises above 41 degrees for more than two hours, it’s recommended that it be discarded.
Last but not least, keep us all abreast of what you see this weekend using National Weather Service’s official hashtags for the storm: #CAStorm and #CAFlood. Aside from creating great entertainment for those tracking the storm, photos and information collected from the hashtags will also help the weather service assess the damage and study the storm’s movement.