An intact tropical storm system descended on the SF Bay Area on March 21st, bringing with it textbook behavior and astonishing satellite imagery.
San Francisco saw nearly hurricane-level winds this week that blew windows off buildings, sofas off porches, and cause more trees than we can shake a stick at (pun intended) to fall across the seven-by-seven. It just feels like we can’t get an atmospheric break these days; yet another weather event is likely to descend on the SF Bay Area next week — bringing with it even more winds, even more rain, and even more seasonal depression.
The low is weakening as it travels across the North Bay, and with it, the wind gusts are diminishing. However the associated rain will continue overnight, with scattered showers into Wednesday. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/TE6ukUuJi4
— NWS Bay Area 🌉 (@NWSBayArea) March 22, 2023
If anything, these past few months have proved we *really couldn’t make it* living in Portland or Seattle.
Historic photos: The eye of the storm is right over the city of San Francisco! #CAwx
Simply incredible. pic.twitter.com/cS4sZTZcIE
— Nahel Belgherze (@WxNB_) March 21, 2023
Infrastructure-shattering gusts aside, what was perhaps the most spellbinding radar imagery ever captured for San Francisco. What did these stills show, you ask? An active, swirling tropical storm rotating around the SF Bay Area… at one point having its eye directly over San Francisco.
“It is fair to say [this week’s] storm was unprecedented,” writes ABC7 meteorologist Drew Tuma on Twitter. “We’ve never experienced a March storm as strong as the one we just went through. Pressure dropped to 984.4mb, beating the monthly record of 990.2mb.”
From a meteorological standpoint, this is one of the most impressive radar images of the decade in my opinion. Landfall of a powerful extra tropical cyclone in San Francisco, complete with an eye wall (that had lightning in it before). Crazy! #CAwx #wxtwitter pic.twitter.com/VYXpiSGLKy
— Michael Steinberg (@MichaelWX18) March 21, 2023
The tropical storm — which carried with it a counter-clockwise rotation — produced both terrestrial and offshore lightning. At one point, the eye of the storm was directly over the city, bringing with it the proverbial “calm in the eye of the storm” cliche.
To think that (ostensibly speaking) a hurricane-like storm swirled over San Francisco is still a wild thought. And even though it’s been days since this historic storm blew across San Francisco, we’ll be thinking of this storm for weeks (maybe months) to come. Those who lost patio furniture will probably be haunted by this atmospheric anomaly even longer.
Feature image: Screenshot of RadarScope Pro