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It’s not over yet—Bay Area braces for three more storms

Flood barriers line Folsom Street, where businesses were still pumping floodwater out from a storm six days ago. | Kevin V. Nguyen/The Standard

After taking a disastrous pounding on New Year’s Eve, San Francisco took this week’s bomb cyclone seriously. The city urged residents to stay off the roads—although schools remained open—and erected flood barriers along streets and intersections that are prone to flooding. 

“When those [barriers] go up, that’s how we usually know to start preparing for something big,” said James Lok, whose auto body shop in the Mission flooded over the holiday weekend. 

But this time, while the city experienced gusty winds and electricity that flickered on and off, the water never made it inside. 

“If only they did this last week,” Lok said. 

While the rainfall totals from the recent storm were not as severe as the last, Bay Area residents are finding that they only have a brief moment to quickly patch things up (if they can) before preparing for yet another storm—three more are already on their way.

At this point, the amount of incoming rain doesn’t matter as much as the fact that the area can only withstand so much within such a short period of time. Weather experts have likened the current situation to an already soaked sponge taking on more water. 

Looking Ahead

Satellite images of weather patterns show that a gradual “parade of storms” will make landfall this weekend and pick up strength through Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 9 and 10.

In response, the National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the entire Bay Area beginning Saturday, Jan. 7, through Tuesday, Jan. 10. 

Again, although rainfall may not be as heavy as the New Year's Eve storm, runoffs and already swollen bodies of water (i.e. creeks, rivers) carry a high risk of flooding to surrounding areas. 

“With a slight break in the weather, now is the time to prepare for the next wave of storms,” said Adam Ely, who is leading San Mateo County’s storm response, in a statement.

“Prepare an emergency kit in case you lose power,” Ely said. “Make sure you pack some water and food in case you get stuck in your car. And be sure you have a working flashlight.”

Thousands of Bay Area residents remain without electricity. You can check out PG&E’s outage map here.

Kevin V. Nguyen can be reached at