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A Break Between Storms: Bay Area Crews, Residents Rush to Repair Damage

With most of the latest showers moving out of the Bay Area Thursday evening, the region has a bit of a pause before the next in a series of atmospheric rivers hits.

Thousands of people around the Bay Area were still without power Friday, and many others were rushing to clean up damage from recent flooding and wind.

At the Pink Onion restaurant on 14th Street near Harrison Street in San Francisco, the long-awaited break in the rain means all-hands-on-deck, mopping floors and drying out furniture.

“It’s a race against time,” explained Pink Onion employee Gabriel McCaffrey.

McCaffrey explained that on New Year’s Eve, the restaurant quickly flooded with two feet of water inside. He said staff jumped in quickly to respond, but the restaurant was still left with broken refrigerators, spoiled food, and damaged plumbing as a result. More rounds of rain the following days didn’t help matters.

“Since we’re a small business it’s, you know, tough,” McCaffrey said, noting the cost of having the restaurant closed for business since New Years Eve has been a challenge. The hope is, with this fast round of rain-free cleaning, Pink Onion can open again for business on Friday.

“We’re just praying that the weather kind of eases up a bit for this whole block,” McCaffrey said, noting other businesses on 14th Street have been dealing with flooding as well.

Many other Bay Area residents, businesses, and utilities also raced to make repairs on Thursday.

In San Francisco, the Department of Public Works had staff working to clean up trees which had fallen on 500 feet of MUNI lines at Junipero Serra and Sloat.

PG&E said it’s been all-hands-on-deck work for their crews too.

As of 10:30 p.m. Thursday, PG&E said there are 21,173 customers impacted by power outages across the San Francisco Bay Area. Power has been restored for tens of thousands of customers throughout the day, the utility was reporting 80,448 outages across the region as of 4:45 a.m.

PG&E Spokesperson Mayra Tostado said that the break in the rain has helped crews to restore power more quickly and safely. She explained that the utility has more than 3,000 people on the ground restoring power and repairing damage right now, including some out-of-town assistance from Southern California and Canada. In total, Tostado said, this storm knocked out power to more than 500,000 customers, 200,000 of whom were in the Bay Area.

Tostado said that one challenge in restoring power has been downed trees, mudslides, and saturated soils, which make more difficult for crews to work.

“In some cases, our crews were out restoring power, setting new poles, and trees were falling around them, so we had to pull them out because they are not safe in those locations,” she added.

While drier skies are aiding PG&E repairs for now, Tostado acknowledged that expected storms into next week may keep some customers without power for longer.

“It may be possible some customers may experience outages that last for more than 48 hours, in those cases they will be receiving a credit on their bill,” Tostado said, adding that customers with any additional claims for PG&E are encouraged to submit them online for review on a case-by-case basis.

Local officials are recommending Bay Area residents use this break between the storms to gather supplies and to prepare for the next batch of wind and rain.

After San Francisco Public Works ran out of the high-demand free sandbags on Wednesday, Thursday the sandbags were back in supply. Residents can take five sandbags per address, these sandbags are available at the Marin and Kansas Streets gate while supplies last.

sandbags await pickup San Francisco
Pallets of sandbags await, ready for pickup at the San Francisco Public Works yard at Kansas and Marin Streets. January 5, 2023. NBC Bay Area Photo/ Alyssa Goard.

The National Weather Service is anticipating the next atmospheric river to arrive at the Bay Area late on Friday with flooding and other localized impacts lasting into Tuesday.

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Source: NBC Bay Area

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