Surveying the damage

The recent storms in the Bay Area may not the storm of the century, but it certainly has caused plenty of damage to our neighborhood and many others. The news here isn’t really that we have some huge tropical storm, but that we even have any weather worth noting. Our mild weather usually consists of several months of pleasant days followed by a few months of drizzle, but I haven’t seen anything else like this in the time I’ve lived out here. So I took a few hours to walk in the rains and check out the damage in my neighborhood, you can check out my flickr set here.

The rains were heaviest during the night, but I believe the real damage came during the freak winds we had from 10-11am (roughly). During this time, trees were felled, power lines downed, and much of the cities MUNI buses were brought to a stop for the rest of the day. When I first stepped out this morning, I was surprised to see 9 MUNI buses all parked in front of my apartment. It was 11:30, and the only buses that seemed to be moving were those that weren’t on the cities power grid.

Although the power was on in the apartment, many of the blocks near us had been out of power for a few hours, and a few had even been powerless throughout the night. I’ve heard that most of the Haight and Cole Valley areas had been out since the early morning. Cafes that still had power and internet, such as SoCha on Mission and Valencia, were slammed with people who had to leave their offices to find a place to get some work done.

One of the Mission’s most significantly affected areas was between 20th and 19th street, where a tree had fallen across Mission ST and brought one of our area’s mass transit to a halt.

Although felled trees was a common sight after the storm, but it was nowhere near the number of mangled umbrellas I saw rolling down the streets. It seemed that every trash can had a few umbrella corpses jammed into them and not a single pedestrian was left with an umbrella that hadn’t been torn to shreds by the massive winds. I passed nearly 60 abandoned umbrellas that had tumbled down the streets or dumped in the nearest trash receptacle. Note to self, is there a business in recycling umbrellas? Hmmm.

I was really surprised at the damage I saw in just a few hours of walking on Mission Street (and the tales I heard about other parts of the city). By the time I made it back home I was beginning to worry about my iPhone (I didn’t have a dry place left to store it) and my jeans had pretty much received their second big soak.