Popular mythology would have it that the weather we've been having in the last couple weeks has been, off and on, earthquake weather. But some of that mythology just has to do with the warm, still October day in 1989 when a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck just after 5 p.m. — and just as Game 3 of the World Series was kicking off at Candlestick Park.
It was the first "subway series" or "Bay Bridge series" since 1956, pitting the Oakland A's against the San Francisco Giants, and many in the Bay Area were already hunkered down watching the game already at home or in a bar — a fact that that has been attributed to the relatively low loss of life on roadways.
But it was on one roadway in particular that the biggest loss of life occurred: Oakland's Cypress Freeway. The double-decker concrete viaduct pancaked on itself, trapping hundreds and killing 42 people.
This week, SFist will mark this 30th anniversary as we did the 25th, with some special pieces on the Bay Area's last big quake that will hopefully cause everyone to get serious about getting earthquake kits and plans together — because it will, eventually, happen again.
Thursday, October 17, will be the actual 30th anniversary, and we're looking for oral histories if you've got some good ones — email us at [email protected]
First, below, we bring you one of the best local artifacts available on YouTube — the live coverage, via generator power, by KGO, these days known as ABC 7. We've posted the tape before and remarked on the A+ professionalism of longtime anchor Cheryl Jennings, at that time just in her first year on the job. (She would go on to anchor well into this decade, stepping down in December 2015.)
The video starts with the blank screen when the video feed went dead at Candlestick, and picks up with Cheryl at the station. It remains fascinating to watch TV news getting made on the fly, without working monitors for her to see helicopter feeds that were coming in of the damaged Bay Bridge — and without Twitter or the internet, information about the catastrophe in Oakland wouldn't trickle in for quite a while. DO NOT MISS the 10:40 mark when Cheryl rides out an aftershock and does not lose her cool for a goddamn second.
Also, almost no one who was alive and conscious in the Bay Area would remember seeing this broadcast because their power was probably out.