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  Edition # 109  
San Francisco, 12-21-2014

Figure [1]: As soon as San Francisco gets a bit more rain than usual, some streets are flooded. Foto: Frédéric Poirot

Angelika Last Thursday, the weather gods bestowed us with heavy rainfall, so much in fact, that San Francisco and its surrounding areas reported flooding emergencies. While California truly needs the rain because of the ongoing drought, the extremely dry grounds can't absorb the water of prolonged rainfall, and water starts to dam up. And the hopelessly obsolete infrastructure with poorly patched-up roads makes things worse, of course.

Figure [2]: The Yahoo morning shuttle on the freeway, stopped by heavy rainfall.

I've got to admit that I found the brouhaha created by the press on Wednesday about the upcoming rain storm rather annoying. As soon as there's rain, all those sun-spoiled Californians go nuts and hopelessly exaggerate. Because I grew up in northern Germany, rain is very natural to me and just makes me chuckle. You can imagine how I was rolling my eyes when the news announced that several school district were closing their facilities on Thursday because of the rain. Back in the Lower Saxony part of Germany were I grew up, the only time I can think of that schools were closed were when we had black ice or wind blowing with more than 60mph.

Figure [3]: This citizen expects flooding caused by prolonged rain and prepared by laying down sand bags.

Figure [4]: This sand bag arrangement seems to require some more work to withstand significant rainfall.

Even our Chrismas party at work was cancelled. And on Thursday morning, when I tried to drive to work I got stopped cold: An underpath on Cezar Chavez Street I needed to pass through, about seven minutes from our house, was flooded and traffic came to a complete stop. Luckily, 3-wheel meter maid scooter had blocked off the area, so no one got stuck in the water, but this meant I could neither proceed forward into the water nor back out because of the stalled traffic behind me.

Figure [5]: A popular surf beach in Pacifica has been closed because of heavy rainfall.

The meter maid advised me to make U-turn on the four-lane road. Alas, this turned out to be quite difficult because the street had a center devider with a curb, but somehow I managed finally to drive over it, turn around and drive back home. On Friday, everything was back to normal. But Michael was really bummed out after he saw that his favorite surf beach in Pacifica was closed due to the heavy rainfall and the amount of sewage that had been swept into the ocean. A sign on the beach strongly advised surfers to stay out of the water that weekend. Oh my!

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