Skip to main content

Live blog: Bay Area assesses damage from ‘brutal’ storm, flood warning canceled

Construction crews continue repairs the Atmospheric river storm caused a flood at El Tepa Taqueria over New Years Eve Weekend in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, January 5, 2023. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

7:00 p.m. | Need More Sandbags?

The skies have mostly cleared for now, but it never hurts to be prepared. According to a recent tweet from Alyssa Goard of NBC Bay Area, the San Francisco Department of Public Works has more sandbags at its Marin and Kansas streets yard. The yard will remain open until 8 p.m. tonight, so head down if you’re looking to stock up. More rain is coming in the next week.

For our guide on other places to get sandbags, click here.

4:45 p.m. | Storm Moves Out

The flood warning has been canceled, and the rains are moving out of the area, according to the National Weather Service.

4:25 p.m. | Residents Adopt Storm Drains

While SF residents wait out extreme weather, some have taken safety measures into their own hands by adopting one of San Francisco’s 25,000 storm drains. Over 4,000 have been given a “home” so far through the “Adopt a Drain” program hosted by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

In what’s arguably the best part, participants get to name their new drains. Standouts include “Watergrate,” “Lana Del Drain” and “It’s Draining Men.”

Similar programs exist around the Bay—South San Francisco and Oakland have their own “adopt a drain” programs.

A yet-to-be-adopted storm drain clogged with litter and debris in the Mission District during a rainy day on January 5, 2022 | Morgan Ellis/The Standard

4:15 p.m. | Day After NYE Flood, Breed Partied in Vegas With E-40

Mayor London Breed kicked off 2023 by leaving a flooded San Francisco for Las Vegas just hours after attending a lavish New Year’s Eve bash. Read our full story here.

4:00 p.m. | Various Photos From the Day

3:40 p.m. | Daylong Outage in SF

SF Supervisor Hillary Ronen tweeted about an outage in her district that left scores of homes in the dark for 18 hours and counting.

3:30 p.m. | Swim at Your Own Risk

Don’t be fooled by viral videos of people splashing around in flooded streets. It may seem like good fun, but the raw sewage and toxic chemicals coursing through it can make you seriously sick. Click here to find out what lurks in the watery wake of the recent storm.

2:15 p.m. | Once-in-a-Century Dousing

Downtown SF hasn’t seen as much rainfall in more than 150 years. That’s according to the National Weather Service, which says the 10.33 inches that doused the city’s center since Dec. 26 made for the wettest 10 days since 1871.

1:20 p.m. | Surf City

Camille Cohen/The Standard

Gray skies, choppy waters and a view of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge made for a dramatic backdrop for surfers who went to Fort Point Thursday to enjoy the calm after the storm.

1:00 p.m. | Mannequin Mix-Up

A daring rescue was called off when the SF Fire Department realized that a person floating under the Golden Gate Bridge was a training dummy. Click here to read how the dramedy unfolded.

12:45 p.m. | Property Damage in Oakland

Cleanup crews remove a storm-toppled tree from an Oakland apartment's rooftop. | Don Feria for The Standard

A tree toppled onto an Oakland apartment building brought cleanup crews Thursday in one of many efforts to fix property damage caused by the atmospheric river and bomb cyclone that swept the region.

12:15 p.m. | Massive Waves Flood Pacifica

Gigantic waves crashed over the seawall, flooded neighborhoods and prompted people to flee their homes in the seaside town of Pacifica.

A post on Nextdoor said evacuations were mostly in and around Sharp Park, where residents posted photos and videos of the deluge.

12:00 p.m. | Bay Area Woman Adds to Death Toll

Officials counted a Bay Area woman in the storm’s death toll, which on Thursday came to three confirmed fatalities. The body of 57-year-old San Leandro resident Mei Keng Lam was reportedly found in the flood that submerged cars and pooled into a lake when Cosumnes River jumped its banks south of Sacramento on New Year’s Eve. An Instagram account run by someone apparently related to Lam sought the public’s help and later confirmed her death.

11:25 a.m. | Santa Cruz Walloped

Videos show massive swells slamming the coastline in Santa Cruz, with large waves damaging piers and property as Santa Cruz County officials are warn of “extraordinarily dangerous” conditions along the coast and “significant damage” from the mid-week storm.

11:00 a.m. | Flood Warnings

Flood warnings have been issued in Alameda and Contra Costa counties through the early afternoon, according to ABC7’s Drew Tuma. There is also a Coastal Flood Warning for the entire Bay Area coastline that goes through 4 p.m.

10:50 a.m. | ICYMI: Mayor Breed Blamed Weather Service for NYE Storm Deluge—But City Was Warned

A day after Mayor London Breed accused the National Weather Service (NWS) of misleading city officials into a false sense of security ahead of a New Year’s Eve storm, the agency shot back, claiming it gave San Francisco considerable warning—well over a week in advance, in fact.

The NWS had alerted local officials and broadcast media as far back as Dec. 21 of “a significant rain event that would bring high impacts and hazardous conditions.”

Read more of our exclusive reporting here.

10:30 a.m. | Landmark Ship in Peril?

In Santa Cruz, the landmark cement ship the S.S. Palo Alto broke away from its home at the Seacliff State Beach fishing pier on Thursday morning, according to reports on Twitter. The ship continues to be hammered by huge swells.

Santa Cruz County reported heavy damage to both the Seacliff pier to which the ship was attached, as well as the Capitola pier.

In its heyday, the oil tanker S.S. Palo Alto was 435 feet long and weighed 7,500 tons. The ship was built for World War I, according to a local Santa Cruz site.

10:20 a.m. | Power Outages Persist

Around 3,000 households in San Francisco remained without power Thursday morning, according to Close to 18,000 households were without power in Sonoma County, nearly 8,000 in Marin and about 27,000 in San Mateo.

8:45 a.m. | Bay Bridge Breezy

Those commuting across the Bay Bridge this morning from various points in the East Bay had an easy bridge commute, with the metering lights off and none of the usual stop-and-go of the daily commute.

A digital sign on westbound 24 that usually displays commute times instead read, “Severe weather, avoid travel until Thursday night.”

7:40 a.m. | What To Expect

Parts of the Bay Area may have new pockets of flooding with downpours currently developing, according to ABC7 meteorologist Drew Tuma.

Tuma noted that it won’t take a lot of rain today to create issues given how water-logged trees and roads are.

Flood warnings are still in effect, but the heavy rains and gusty winds are expected to at least temporarily abate by the early afternoon, though more rain is forecast over the next week.

A tree fell on a vehicle along Lincoln Way and 46th Avenue in the Sunset District on Thursday. | Han Li/The Standard

7:28 a.m. | Transit Time

BART is reporting delays system-wide of up to 20 minutes. There is also limited red line service on the Richmond line in the Millbrae direction, and limited green line service between Berryessa and Daly City.

Caltrain is also experiencing numerous delays—see alerts here. Trains between the Hillsdale and Millbrae stations are not running because a tree fell on an overhead line around 2 a.m.

7:00 a.m. | Business as Usual in SF?

Some areas of the city appeared to be back in business early Thursday morning—for the most part. Gusty winds, a bunch of felled leaves and a handful of broken traffic lights were visible signs of the big storm, but vendors were setting up their canopies at the 24th Bart station and commuters were starting to head to work.  

The Mission District early Thursday morning | Camille Cohen/The Standard

A tree was down on Folsom between 24th and 23rd streets and was being cleaned up by the Department of Public Works at 7 a.m. There was no reported damage or injuries as a result of the downed tree.

10:45 p.m., Wednesday | Two Young Victims

An unidentified 19-year-old resident of Solano County died in a weather-related crash Wednesday morning and a toddler died later in the day in Sonoma County after a tree fell on his house. Read more here. [Correction: A previous version of this post misidentified the county the 19-year-old died in.]