Jan 3, 2023 - News

Historic storm hits San Francisco, more rain on the way

Flooded highway 101

Aerial view of the flooded Highway 101 on Saturday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A historic storm soaked San Francisco over the weekend, and the wet weather isn't letting up any time soon.

Why it matters: Downtown San Francisco counted 5.46 inches of rain on Saturday — the second wettest day ever in the 170+ years since records have been kept at that site.

Catch up quick: The downpour caused flooding on city streets, landslides on local hills and power outages for thousands of people across the Bay Area. A parklet was even spotted floating away.

  • Local authorities closed Highway 101 in both directions for several hours Saturday afternoon near South San Francisco due to flooding and non-stop rainfall.

What they're saying: The storm "greatly exceeded the volume that our sewer system is designed to handle," Joseph Sweiss, spokesperson for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, told Axios. "No sewer system, including San Francisco's, can reasonably be designed to manage this size of storm."

Zoom out: The storm wreaked even more havoc on the Sacramento area where levee breaks caused major flooding on Highway 99 and forced emergency crews to rescue people from the tops of their cars and from the water. Two people had died as of Sunday.

What's next: Another atmospheric river that could be even stronger than the New Year's Eve storm is expected this week, bringing 1.5-3 inches of rain to the Bay Area, according to a National Weather Service forecast.

  • The NWS predicts rain to continue through the middle of January.

Be smart: Between storms, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management suggests removing debris and clearing leaves from sidewalks and storm drains to help prevent them from clogging.

  • They also recommend checking in with friends and family who may need assistance during the storm.
  • If you think your home or business is in danger of flooding, Public Works provides up to 10 sandbags for free. It extended its hours this week for the upcoming storm, so you can pick them up from 8am to 5pm at their operations yard in the Bayview.
  • Public Works spokesperson Rachel Gordon says they've handed out 8,500 sandbags since Saturday.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios San Francisco.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More San Francisco stories

No stories could be found

San Franciscopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios San Francisco.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more