EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 tornado | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'tornado'

“We’re Not Prepared For This Weather…”

 

It's Nice Today...It seems like every year I hear the same thing from places all over the Bay Area, We’re not prepared for this weather! It’s summer. It gets hot. Be Prepared. OK, maybe in San Francisco that isn’t completely true except for this year where we’ve been hit by warmer than average temperatures for this time of year, but it’s the same type of heat we get in September so we got hit a few months early. It’s not like everyone puts their air conditioning in cold storage until September. Oh wait, San Franciscans don’t have air conditioning.

I’ll try and explain weather to all of you since it seems everyone forgets what it is every year around here. This could be due to all the newcomers that rotate in and out of the city every year, but summer in San Francisco isn’t supposed to be warm. It might be warm compared to Alaska [or Alturas which has got to be the coldest place in California], but it’s not what people expecting summer weather expect.

The reason it’s so odd is that [my apologies, I’m not a meteorologist] we get warm air over the water that hits the cold air over the land. The warm ocean air contains more moisture which condenses when it hits the cold land giving you…fog. Summer’s in San Francisco tend to be foggy around the coast with a few places like Potrero and the Mission where it burns off very quickly because they get the sun earlier in the day to warm the land and create a bit of equilibrium between the two.

For people who grew up here we have an old saying, You know you’re in San Francisco when you put on your heavy winter jacket to barbecue in July and make sure you’ve got a tank top on when you run out for a six pack in October.

San Francisco is kind of backwards weather wise and even then we don’t really have weather. It might get a few days into the freezing temperatures in December and January and we might get into the upper 90’s a couple of days in September and October. That’s pretty much the extremes we get. Snow is pretty much unheard of since 1976 and we don’t get tornados or hurricanes here either. We do get rain and hail, but our weather hasn’t gotten that message lately. We’ve been experiencing a rather dry year so far and while I can’t say that’s why it’s hot it’s just one of those things you should be prepared for.

Most San Franciscans already know to dress in layers so that shouldn’t be a problem and most people also carry water bottles so dehydration isn’t really a factor. Most of the companies that I’ve worked for also have air conditioning installed even though they hardly ever need it so the whole, we’re not prepared for this weather is kind of a joke to me.

We all have to go outside and even if you’ve been here only a couple of months you should know how to deal with the weather. If not then I suggest San Diego where the meteorologists are overpaid because every day is, nice.

Wild Weekends & Disasters

OK, so here’s the deal. I’ve decided that Monday’s through Friday’s I will post articles about San Francisco. On the weekends if I get some time I’ll post bonus material that can be about anything in particular, stream of consciousness rants, whatever. I’ll call these wild weekend articles. That being said today I want to talk about…

Disasters. We hear about them all the time. Earthquakes in Japan, tornados in the midwest, hurricanes in the south and east. What I find funny is that people who live in the areas where it seems like they have to buy a new house every year have all said to me, California’s nice, but I could never live there because of the earthquakes.

I’ve lived in San Francisco my entire life and the only time there was a disaster that set us back was in 1989 when the 6.9 earthquake set us back a day. We lost power for about four hours and our phone lines were screwed up for about four days and that was it. Our house survived quite well as it was bolted to the foundation and the only thing in our house that got damaged was a ceramic goblet that I bought at the renaissance faire that fell off a shelf.

Yes, you don’t know when they are coming and when they do they’re usually very loud and scary, but they’re over shortly and life goes back to normal. I think the scene from L.A. Story where Steve Martin is sitting at a cafe with a group of people when an earthquake hits and they are all going about their business because it’s no big deal. It really isn’t that big a deal unless you might happen to live in a liquifaction area such as the Marina which really had only the area North of Chestnut street affected.

Yes, I did get hit with a few falling bricks and some flying glass shards from a broken window when the quake hit in 1989, but  because we get quakes often enough we know what to do and we’re prepared. So why is it then that other parts of the country that get hit by large hurricanes and tornados every year get warnings and aren’t prepared? Looks like a cat 5 is coming, ah nothing to worry about we’ll get by. Seriously? I know a lot of friends in hurricane country who do get out in time and hope their home is still there when they get back and in a lot of cases it is there, but they still get affected in some way much worse that us people who live in earthquake country. Like having to throw out their refrigerators because of the toxic mess that’s accumulated in the week or so they’ve been gone and the fridge has been off.

Well what about the Northridge quake? Yep, that one was pretty bad when it happened over 30 years ago. We don’t get blizzard conditions in the winter or heat waves in the summer. We’re lucky to see the temperature go past 100° for more than a couple of days [except for perhaps in Needles, CA]. There are parts of California that do fall prey to flooding, but they’re on the coast and if you want to avoid flooding, don’t live on the coast. I recently looked at the weather departments predicitions of a tsunami hitting San Francisco and as long as you live above 46th avenue in the Sunset above La Playa in the Richmond you’ll be fine. That’s only two blocks that would be affected.

There was a recent study done on the San Andreas fault that showed that it would never be capable of delivering a quake much above a 7.6 at this point in time. So earthquakes aren’t really something you need to be too afraid of here in California. They’re just a little surprise wake up call to make sure you’re prepared.

[ad#AdBrite]

San Francisco Vs. The Tsunami

You’ll all have to thank my wife for this post. She had done a bit of research on how bad SF would fare if hit with a tsunami and I have to say that my off the cuff, unscientific assessment was off. I had it worse that it really would be.

She steered me toward the County Tsunami Inundation Maps website that shows just how bad we would be hit and I was kind of surprised. It’s the first time I am glad I’m on the front line of defense because the wave would hit us then make a left and head into the bay. Pretty much if you live in the Sunset or Richmond above 47th avenue you’ll be safe. The site’s a little hard to understand at first because it gives you a far away map and you have to click on it to download a large PDF image. I should have figured that since it was run by the government it wasn’t going to be easy. Maybe Apple should be hired as a consultant to make it more user friendly.

From what I can tell from the maps the worst places to be the Marina, the Wharfs, China Basin and Islais Creek. Oh let’s not leave out Treasure Island which would be underwater. I guess my earlier jokes about the tsunami evacuation signs being at the beach wasn’t that far off. Essentially they’re tell you to move a block away and you’ll be fine. I’ve also noticed that Oakland, Alameda and Emeryville will have a few problems as well even though they’re farther inland. Even those places won’t be hit by more than a few blocks.

It appears that as long as you are about a half mile in from the water you will be fine and have nothing to worry about. So everyone, stop being paranoid and get back to enjoying life. SF 1 – Tsunami 0.

[ad#AdBrite]

The Tsunami That Never Was

Oddly enough it was earlier last week I was thinking about writing this long before the earthquake hit Japan. It’s one of those funny, duh kinds of things that just has me scratching my head sometimes. Notice the sign to the left. Good idea to know which direction to go in case of a Tsunami emergency.

I’d like to talk a little bit about tsunamis and San Francisco. We used to get tidal wave alerts fairly often out in the Sunset with warning to expect flooding. You know what we used to do? Drive down to the beach to watch and see if the big wave ever came. Absolute opposite to what a person should do, but we did it anyway. Guess what. No tsunami’s ever came. Even if we did get a big one there’s a few hurdles it would have to cross first.

  1. There’s either concrete walls or  rock and sand piled up at the beach that reaches close to 30 feet. The waves that devastated Crescent City in 1964 topped 20′. We’d need something a lot bigger than that.
  2. The 8.9 or 9.1 quake that hit Japan has no chance of happening here according to experts because of the way the San Andreas Fault is built, plus our fault line is inland, not 10=15 miles off shore.
  3. If a wave did manage to pass over the rock, sand and concrete it would have to drop about 40′ into a trough like area that runs uphill for about 4 blocks before you’re at the same level as the top of the sand.

So all in all we’re pretty safe. My house is over 100 ft above sea level so I know I’m safe and if there’s ever a chance I’m not then there’s pretty much no where in San Francisco you’d be safe.

Now back to the picture. That picture was taken at the foot of Judah street right across the street from Java Beach cafe. If you turn 180° this is what you see. OCEAN BEACH! Ok, I kind of took a few liberties with the picture, but basically the sign is right across the street from the beach.

Yes, this sign was money well spent for people who ride on a short bus to their meetings at the low IQ club. No where else further up Judah is there another sign except over on Lincoln Blvd where there’s one a block up from the beach. No other street has signs like this so I suppose the city of San Francisco is telling residents that if you live in the northern part of the Sunset District you probably aren’t very smart.

[gmap zoom=’16’ center_lat=”37.7604278″ center_lon=”-122.5089745″]

[ad#AdBrite]

San Francisco Rain

“Here comes the rain again, falling on my head and it’s drizzly, falling on my head, but it’s not an ocean.” —with apologies to Annie Lennox.

Yes, we have some rain for the first time since the end of January. This contrary to what many people are thinking is not a bad thing. It used to be that San Francisco was a city with two kinds of weather, raining and gonna rain. I never remember it quite like that as there was a fair amount of heavy fog mixed in that my friends from Los Angeles who didn’t know better thought was rain. No that’s not rain, for you guys it’s rain when water from the sky stings your eyes and rusts out your cars.

San Francisco rain is different. It’s usually pretty mild and we have less stormy days with heavy rains than we do sunny days. Thank you global warming. I can’t even remember the last time I needed an umbrella when I went out in the rain, but I usually only had a short distance to walk to get to my car so that isn’t so bad. Here’s a few things that I like about San Francisco rain:

  1. I don’t have to water my garden: My father always disagreed with me on this. He was always out there every day rain or shine watering the lawn and the garden in the back. I have found this caused him to grow more weeds that he had to get out there on nice days to pull. Now while our lawn is a little patchy at the moment, but that’s from the gophers we had, we don’t have to run the sprinkler system from December to April cutting our water bill by tons.
  2. I don’t have to wash the car: Everyone’s car looks wet in the rain. When it’s dry out you have to think about how to make your car gleam and shine if you’re into trying to bag ultra sexy women who will drain your bank account, but I’m happily married and have no need to drain my already drained bank accounts for a piece of eye candy on my arm.
  3. It helps clean the dirt off the streets: Well, maybe not as much as a power sprayer, but you’d be surprised at how much dirt there is out there on your house and trees and cars. Previous to the rain of Monday morning my car was beginning to look like something from King Tut’s tomb when it was first opened now it looks brand new. San Francisco tends to have rather loose soil that is easily moved around by our rather breezy wind conditions so the rain helps this out somewhat, but it leads to another condition as well…

Pollen run off. This should have been number four, but it’s so big right now that it deserves its own section. When you’re walking down the streets you might see puddles with yellowy streaks running through them, kind of like the picture to the left, but not so much. I was reading sfgate.com about the upcoming storms and someone commented that they were happy because it would wash away the pollen and her allergies would go away for awhile.

I hadn’t really thought of that until we made our trip out to the local Trader Joe’s to try and find some produce that wasn’t already past it sale date. In the puddles as we were walking towards the doors to the shop you could see these yellow streaked puddles everywhere. I was wondering if it was really pollen or not and dropped pollen run off into google and found the picture to the left.

Yep, it is definitely pollen run off you’re seeing in the streets. The storms are supposed to be strongest Tuesday night through Wednesday so hopefully we will get all of this washed away and be left with a much cleaner city in the end. Somewhere along in my life I realized I had developed allergies to pollen and I have no idea why. I suppose I was having too much of a good time and the gods said, “This should fix that.” I’ve notice that I haven’t had as much need to blow my nose as much so I like the rain. It makes the plants grow for free and keeps our city clean. Now maybe if we could have it be a warm rain for a couple of days we could make it OK for the homeless to go naked and get a free shower and wash their clothes.