That New Year’s Eve storm was an all-timer, and its aftermath continues with numerous homes still red-tagged, residents displaced, and businesses dealing with the worst flooding wreckage they’ve ever seen.
Saturday’s near-record worst rain storm in 173 years (and the highest rainfall in SF ever on Dec. 31) certainly complicated New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for many residents, small businesses, and city emergency responders, with floods, downed trees, and literal muckety-muck from which much of the city is still digging out. And while the rain has already returned Monday, it appears to be just a light drizzle for now, before things are expected to get atmospheric river-y again Wednesday through Friday. And as seen in the KRON4 video below, taken in Noe Valley on Saturday, the brief respite is a relief since there’s still so much post-storm debris through which to sift.
How bad was Saturday’s storm? "Oakland recorded its wettest day on record since 1970, and parts of Lake Merritt appeared to fill to the brim,” the Chronicle reports. “San Francisco came ever so close to hitting the all-time rainfall high in over 170 years of records, and several neighborhoods experienced mudslides and dramatic flooding.” The Chron also has some startling images of cars driving in bumper-deep water on 101, and the mudslides on Bernal Hill.
SFGate points us to the video above from Mission District Japanese izakaya Rintaro, where staff were busy on duty Saturday preparing pre-ordered bento boxes for New Year’s Day. But that came to a halt when the restaurant found itself flooded with three to four feet of water.
"We had half of us standing on the tables, the rest of us inside. At one point, there was nothing we could do but evacuate,” Rinatro owner Sylvan Mishima Brackett told KGO. “I had people line up, jump into chest deep water to wade into the streets -- crazy."
KGO adds that Rintaro’s parklet “nearly floated away.”
MX3 Fitness Castro is in bad shape. Parking lot behind our building drain clogged and flooded all that water between our building and next door. Water built up and gushed through the walls. All this and New Year’s resolutions start tomorrow. #bayarea #SanFrancisco pic.twitter.com/OkGHkPOgu2— Dave Karraker (@DaveKarraker) January 1, 2023
The recovery from Saturday’s torrential downpour is still underway at the Castro’s MX3 Fitness. “Parking lot behind our building drain clogged and flooded all that water between our building and next door,” owner Dave Karraker tweets above. “Water built up and gushed through the walls.”
TREE DOWN NO INJURIES 24th AND CHATTANOOGA pic.twitter.com/AdCjk6tkgA— SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT MEDIA (@SFFDPIO) January 1, 2023
That’s rough, but you’ve really got to feel for those who had their cars destroyed by falling trees, or as NBC Bay Area reports, were displaced from their homes because their houses are red-tagged due to extreme flood damage. One such displaced person, Bayview resident German Rivas, told NBC Bay Area that the flood “went through the back yard through the kitchen, one of the bathrooms, living rooms, dining rooms everywhere and coming down the stairs and the garage.”
There is some grumbling on both sides of the Bay that cities did not adequately prepare for a storm that we knew was coming. KPIX spoke to a San Ramon resident who “had a photo of his son trying to unclog a storm drain while standing in waist-deep water. He said he's frustrated that there was no effort by the city to clear the drains before the predicted storm.” Several SF shop owners had similar complaints about the storm drain conditions here in the city.
To all our First Responders working today, like Engine 43 and Medic 53 seen at a medical call, the dispatchers who took the call and sent us, and the police who keep scenes safe for us, Thank you, and Happy New Year. @SFFFLocal798 pic.twitter.com/QLJ7Vg6QDx— SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT MEDIA (@SFFDPIO) January 2, 2023
There may be some truth to that gripe, but there’s no question that first responders did absolute yeoman's work all day and night, on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and under terribly challenging conditions. The SFPUC said in a statement to KGO that “In this area, clogged catch basins were not a cause of the flooding. Rather this was an extreme weather event that exceeded the capacity of any system.”
And the displaced Bayview resident Rivas brought some perspective, despite not even being able to go into his own home. “We are still alive, still healthy and I hope I can keep working to come up again,” he told NBC Bay Area. “This is not going to stop us,” he said,.
Image: @SFFDPIO via Twitter