While San Francisco is expected to enjoy sunshine over the next week, the rain will soon return. Many people will plan for a rainy day by putting on rain boots or grabbing an umbrella, and the SFPUC’s Stormwatch Team plans to do much more.
“Stormwatch” is the SFPUC’s term for storm preparation and response efforts prior to, during, and after rain events in the City. When it rains in San Francisco, the Stormwatch Team monitors the weather forecast to plan, coordinate and deploy resources to efficiently respond to impacts in various neighborhoods.
“Strike Teams” are deployed to areas where rain fall is expected to be a half of an inch or more . Strike Teams are assigned different zones of the City to monitor and clear storm drains (also as known as catch basins) to relieve potential flooding. A quick response by the Strike Team reduces impacts of flooding and help in ensuring the health and safety of residents during a storm event.
In 2016, the SFPUC began deploying temporary flood barriers in the 17th at Folsom area, a low-lying neighborhood impacted by heavy rains in San Francisco. Deploying temporary flood barriers requires resources and time. Crews deploy and remove the flood barriers starting at midnight to minimize the traffic impacts. This task requires four to six hours to complete. Once the barriers are up, two crew-members stay onsite to assist neighbors to get into or out of the buildings. This coordinated effort helps minimize the impact of heavy rains in this neighborhood.