San Francisco and other areas of the Bay Area began preparations for anticipated heavy wind and rain that would reach the region by Tuesday and stay until Wednesday, officials said on Monday.
The National Weather Service forecasted that the city could expect to experience the first major storm of the season, what officials are calling an atmospheric river event. The phenomena would bring powerful winds of up to 60 miles per hour and up to two to three inches of rain, forcing the agency to issue a high wind warning for the region.
First Major Storm
Additionally, officials are warning residents to be careful when going outside and prepare inside their homes as the storm could cause power outages, knock down trees, and could flood several roads.
“The first major winter storm of the season is here, and we’re asking San Franciscans to do their part by looking out for each other, having your emergency supplies ready, and avoiding any unnecessary travel,” said San Francisco City Mayor London Breed.
The city leader noted that authorities were prepared to support their citizens for potential impacts to pandemic response and operations within the region’s limits. However, officials are discouraging going outside during the storm and have opted to close some outdoor COVID-19 testing sites or reduce their operation time.
Individuals who believe they may have come into contact with someone infected with the coronavirus were urged to self-quarantine while they wait for the availability of testing sites.
Testing will end at noon on Tuesday and resume on Friday morning for the Potrero Hill Health Center at 1050 Wisconsin Street. And later that day, at 4:00 p.m., the testing at Pier 30-32 is scheduled to stop. Additionally, city officials said that other testing facilities could change their operational hours depending on their needs and situation.
On Tuesday at noon, the COVID-19 vaccination site at 50 Frida Kahlo Way at the City College of San Francisco is set to close and would only open again on Thursday. Residents who were affected by the closures would be informed and re-scheduled, said city officials.
The Safe Sleeping Villages in San Francisco would continue to serve residents who come in during the storm. Officials plan to set up tarps over and under tents and ensure that people stay dry while it was raining. City officials added they prepared ponchos and Mylar blankets for anyone who would need to keep warm.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Gerry Diaz said that the weather would be “a bit of a concern for the city.”
Additionally, San Francisco officials have put together a homeless outreach team equipped with water, socks, and blankets. They also encourage people to use available resources and invite them to come inside, NBC Bay Area reported.
Along the Folsom and 17th streets, an interlocking flood barrier was positioned, and catch basins were cleaned. Officials also deployed additional crews to better respond to reports of downed trees and limbs.
On Monday, engineers were dispatched to assess landslide-prone areas and conduct precautionary measures to avoid any injuries or deaths. Additionally, inspectors were coordinating with contractors to secure construction zones in the public right-of-way.