A once-in-a-decade storm hit San Francisco this morning, and has knocked out power to 150,000 people in the city.
A huge part of downtown San Francisco, including most of the financial district and the dozens of luxury shops around Union Square, were blacked out this morning. There were no traffic lights, so police were directing traffic. The underground subway station at Montgomery Street, in the heart of the Financial District, was shut down.
Here’s a map from PG&E, the local utility, showing where electricity was down during the morning commute:
The right part of that red area includes most of downtown, including the Financial District. A lot of startups are located in that yellow swath, south of Market Street. Red means that single outage is affecting more than 5,000 people; yellow means a smaller outage affecting less than 500 people.
The real map, which will be updated throughout the day, is here. It looks like they’re quickly getting the worst outages fixed.
A lot of people who have dealt with much worse weather elsewhere are making fun of how soft Northern California is:
SF is a technology hub? It can’t keep the power on in weather a Scots West Highlander would describe as “April, maybe early May as well.”
— Iain Thomson (@iainthomson) December 11, 2014
But the simple fact of the matter is that the Bay Area is not equipped for this kind of rain. The drainage systems aren’t built for four inches of rain in a 24-hour period, and the gusts of wind, which were over 50 miles an hour this morning in some parts of the city, knocked over a lot of tree branches. A lot of roads look like this now:
Heavy rain is long overdue in California, which has been suffering from one of its most severe droughts on record. The storm, which is the biggest to hit California in five years, is being called Pineapple Express.
Officials are preparing for the possibility of debris slides and tidal waves as a result of the storm. As much as 8 inches of rain could fall over 24 hours, and up to 2 feet of snow is expected to blanket Sierra Nevada ski resorts.
Schools canceled classes and residents collected supplies Thursday morning as residents anticipated a storm with high winds and heavy rain, the Associated Press reported.
Here are some reports coming out of California:
Powerful West Coast Storm to bring heavy #rain/flooding/mudslides. Mtn #snow/80+mph wind http://t.co/8BkGlc2JgB #CAwx pic.twitter.com/PURnqCnbtf
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) December 11, 2014