One of the largest storms in recent memory is expected to hit the Bay Area beginning this evening. Here are answers to the questions you undoubtedly have.
When is the rain going to start? I’m tired of waiting for it.
The storm is expected to hit the North Bay this afternoon, and the rest of the Bay Area by the evening. Showers should continue through Friday, though the worst of it should pass by Thursday night.
How much rain is going to fall?
The National Weather Service has predicted one to four inches in low-lying areas and five to eight in the hills. That’s enough for it to get called the storm of the decade.
It’s the storm of the decade?
It’s the storm of the decade.
I heard there’s a “hazardous weather outlook” warning. What does that mean?
The storm could knock over trees and power lines. There could also be some flooding, depending on where you are.
That sounds serious.
You don’t know the half of it. Wind gusts are expected to pass hurricane strength in the Sierra Nevadas, and get up to 50 miles per hour in urban areas.
Wait, back up a second. We’re looking at a hurricane here?
Well, no, not technically. The term hurricane only describes tropical storms with sustained winds over 74 miles per hour. The winds might hit that mark in local mountains and hills, but since we aren’t in a tropical region, it won’t technically be a hurricane.
“Won’t technically be a hurricane” is the least reassuring sentence I’ve read in a long time.
Yeah, we know. Imagine how we feel typing it.
How bad is it going to be?
Let’s look at the positives and the negatives. The bad news is that the National Weather Service has issued a—get ready for it—Flash Flood Watch, Flood Watch, Gale Warning, Hazardous Seas Advisory, High Wind Warning, High Wind Watch Wind Advisory, Winter Storm Warning, High Surf Advisory, and a Blizzard Warning all in parts of Northern California. The good news, though, is that as of now, it hasn’t issued a Golden Snitch Release Watch, a Sour Coffee Advisory, a Creepy Craiglist Roommate Alarm, an Awkward Grindr Hookup Admonition, or an Unlikely to Book a Brunch Table for Six at NoPa Portent.
Are the schools going to close?
San Francisco Unified has announced that its schools will be closed on Thursday. Other districts may follow suit. (Update: Oakland Unified is also taking a rain day.)
How should I prepare? I should probably brace, right?
You should probably brace.
How do I brace?
If you live in a detached house, clean your gutters and maybe get some sandbags. For everybody, make sure you have a flashlight with batteries, drinking water, non-perishable food, and a battery-operated radio. Some sexy candles maybe too? If you don't have to go into work tommorow, maybe work from home, light those, and just kind of go all Quiet Storm on it.
I probably need to buy an umbrella, right?
Yeah, good work thinking ahead there, chief. Doubt you’ll be able to find one for less than a month’s rent now.
I know. I’m terrible at planning in advance. That’s one of the reasons that Matt left me. But my therapist and I are working on it, and I feel like we’re really close to a breakthrough.
But you still don’t have an umbrella?
I said close to a breakthrough. There’s a lot of self-work to be done before I get there.
What about rain boots? Do you have rain boots?
Oh no. What about rain boots?
Good luck finding them. According to CBS, stores in San Francisco are almost out of them.
What should I do if something really goes wrong?
If you see downed power lines or you have a medical emergency, call 911. For downed trees or flooded storm sewers, call 311.
What do I do if it isn’t like something for real that’s an emergency, but it’s still kind of like an emergency to me. How do I deal?
You’re going to have to be more specific.
Well, it’s an embarrassing question.
This is a safe space.
I was supposed to go get drinks with some friends tomorrow night. They said after Matt, it would be good for me to get out there.
You know, it’s not like the whole city shuts down. You can probably just still go as long as you take a Lyft.
Yeah. Like don’t get us wrong, there will be some problems. But it is just water falling from the sky. You can get through this. You take showers every morning—that’s the same deal. We believe in you.
That means so much.
You’re welcome. Stay dry.