Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Weather & Environment
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Published on February 21, 2024
Flash Floods Turn San Francisco Streets into Waterways, NWS Lifts Warning as Rains SubsideSource: CMBJ, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

San Francisco's streets briefly transformed into rivers Tuesday afternoon, with raging waters gushing from manholes in neighborhoods like Cow Hollow and Hayes Valley. According to SFist, social media was flooded with images and videos of the unusual urban spectacle caused by torrential rains.

The National Weather Service quickly issued a flash flood warning for all of San Francisco, as the deluge seemed to quickly overwhelm the city's drainage system. KRON4's Sara Stinson captured a scene in Hayes Valley, where streets began to pool up with water. More footage from the network showed severe flooding at Franklin and Green streets, with water notably bubbling up from manholes. The need to quickly communicate the potential dangers caused by the flood was clear as water continued swiftly flowing downhill, evidenced by additional clips shared by users like Joel from the intersection of Franklin and Union.

But the chaos was short-lived. "Flooding is no longer expected to pose a threat," NWS Bay Area stated, as reported by KTVU. The ominous flash flood warning, initially set to expire at 4 p.m., was lifted as the heavy rains let up. The aftermath of an unexpectedly wet day in San Francisco remained, with the city having recorded rainfall ranging from 0.2 to 1 inch in various locales.

Weather officials, however, kept a vigilant eye on the city, as a flood watch remained effective until Wednesday at 10 a.m. The event was part of a larger atmospheric river event sweeping across the Bay Area, catching many residents by surprise.