The National Weather Service Can’t Express Enough Just How Dangerous This SF Bay Area Storm Could Be

San Francisco wasn’t designed to handle the amount of rain coming our way — and it may come at the cost of human life.

As the climate crisis continues to worsen, these once-in-a-hundred-year events will become much more frequent. Kentucky, for example, saw two once-in-a-thousand-year floods in 2022, claiming dozens of lives and costing over a billion dollars in damages.

The West Coast hasn’t been afforded the same wet weather; last year solidified that California had experienced its worst drought in over 1,200 years.

In a twist of fate, the entire affronted region is now experiencing a deluge unseen in decades. San Francisco’s last day of 2022 was the wettest calendar day ever, the SF Bay Area chapter of the National Weather Service (NWS) said. 5.45 inches of rain was reported in downtown San Francisco — making it the second-wettest day in the area since records began in 1849.

Those are staggering figures… ones that might be broken with the looming atmospheric river floating over the Pacific Ocean, as we speak (type? type.). And the NWS: SF Bay Area isn’t sugar-coating just how dangerous the potential storms are.

A meteorologist with the agency pointed out, very matter of factly, that amongst many “disruptions,” the “loss of human life” is also “likely.” 

In a transcript from the weather agency, this string of storms that will descend over the San Francisco Bay Area in the next few days will be “one of the most impactful systems” seen in ages. Perhaps, ever.

“To put it simply, this will likely be one of the most impactful systems on a widespread scale that this meteorologist has seen in a long while,” reads the recorded discussion. “The impacts will include widespread flooding, roads washing out, hillside collapsing, trees down (potentially full groves), widespread power outages, immediate disruption to commerce, and the worst of all, likely loss of human life.”

This storm needs to be taken seriously; it needs to be headed with the level of urgency implied above. The climate crisis is here; our environment has changed permanently — for the worse.

We’ve failed to steer away from the climate catastrophes that now regularly present themselves as once-in-a-century events. As a collective, we need to heed advice from experts — meteorologists, doctors, and pathologists — with the utmost importance.

Be careful out there, Bay Area. Be safe, San Franciscans. Outside of life-threatening emergencies, make sure to call 311 tomorrow if your domicile is flooding or are in need of sandbags.

Feature image: Courtesy of Flickr via Russell Mondy

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