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SF Cleans Up After Massive Storm

Due to yesterday’s storm, SF suffered two deaths, 700 fallen trees and limbs, glass and debris falling from towers and roughly 35,000 customers lost power.
By - posted 3/22/2023 No Comment

City Crews Continue Response in Aftermath of Storms

Storm with high wind gusts resulted in two deaths and caused citywide impacts including downed trees, power outages, traffic collisions, and transit disruptions

San Francisco, CA – Today San Francisco crews continue to assess damage and clean up from yesterday’s storm, largely caused by high wind gusts that significantly impacted the City. The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (DEM) activated the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to monitor storm impacts and deploy coordinated resources.

As a result of high winds, there were initial reports of over 700 fallen trees and limbs across the City and reports of glass and debris falling from high rise towers. Two people were brought to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG) during the afternoon of March 21 due to injuries resulting from two separate storm-related incidents who did not survive their injuries.

During the peak of the storm, roughly 35,000 customers lost power, and as of today, over 8,000 customers in San Francisco still remain without power. City facilities also saw impacts caused by power outages, including the Public Works Yard, Pier 94 where trailers for the unsheltered are located, and ZSFG, which is running on backup generators and remains fully operational with minimal impacts to patient services. Power is expected to be restored to ZSFG and other facilities today.

Additionally, yesterday there were major traffic and transit disruptions due to impacts from high winds. An overturned big rig temporarily closed all eastbound lanes on the Bay Bridge, ferry service was suspended due to hazardous bay conditions, and a loose barge damaged the 3rd Street Bridge that connects the China Basin and Mission Bay neighborhoods. At San Francisco International Airport (SFO), hundreds of departing and arriving flights were delayed for over four hours. Residents should expect residual transit impacts, including ongoing flight delays and the suspension of Cable Car service until debris can be cleared.

The San Francisco 911 call center experienced a surge of calls at over 400% normal call volume during the peak of the storm, resulting in longer than normal wait times for 911 callers. Emergency communications and 311 dispatchers worked quickly to reroute many non-emergency storm-related calls to 311 and the public was advised to save 911 for life safety emergencies.

Despite these major challenges, City crews have responded swiftly and continue to focus recovery efforts on clearing storm-related debris throughout the City today. Public Works (DPW) crews have been out since yesterday afternoon when winds speeds increased, working into the night and this morning. Crews have responded to hundreds of downed trees and limbs. Department engineers are currently assessing the 3rd Street Bridge. Public Works is working to have lanes open to traffic and bikes today, but the eastbound pathway will remain closed.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) crews remain in the field to mitigate storm impacts. Before, during, and after the storm, SFPUC crews deployed highly specialized equipment including up to 6 Vac-Con Trucks, 6 Service Trucks, and 6 Strike Teams to respond to citywide service requests, monitor and clean storm drains, and assist DPW Rake Crews. Since Monday, SFPUC crews successfully responded to 83 service requests.

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department arborists, heavy machine operators, gardeners and other staff are on call to immediately assist with downed trees and other storm damage. Initial reports indicate approximately a dozen downed trees and many more downed limbs in several parks, to include Alta Vista Park, Golden Gate Park, McLaren Park, Buena Vista Park, Huntington Park, Garfield Sports Complex, Aptos Playground, Harvey Milk Center, and Pine Lake Park. The reported number is expected to increase as crews survey impacted areas and field reports.

City crews closed streets in isolated areas, including Downtown, while emergency crews evaluated specific weather-related hazards. City Building inspectors directed building management of certain impacted buildings to secure openings and provide engineering evaluations. The streets around the 300 Block of Mission Street remains closed Wednesday morning due to ongoing assessments by the Department of Building Inspection.

“We saw areas of significant damage, as well as dangerous conditions caused by falling glass and downed trees. I want to thank all the City workers who have been out taking care of San Francisco during and after this most recent storm,” said Mayor Breed. “Tragically, two people lost their lives, which is a grave reminder of how serious and dangerous this storm became. The repeated storms have been challenging, but our public workers have been out keeping residents safe, limiting damage as much as possible and quickly cleaning up the City.”

Residents are reminded to please keep 9-1-1 available for police, fire, and medical emergencies that impact life and safety, and for downed power lines and gas leaks. To report fallen trees, flooding and other non-life-threating storm issues to 311 online at sf311.org, on the 311 mobile app, or by calling 311. For updated forecasts, visit the National Weather Service. For more information about how to be safe and prepared for extreme weather, and other emergencies, please visit www.sf72.org.