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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Plague of Rainbows Descends on San Francisco; Citizens Rejoice

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 11:51 AM

It’s not often an entire city can come together over the same cause, even if that city is governed by only one political party. But Monday, March 21, 2016 was a wholly different story.

It was the second day of spring. The Bay Area was enjoying yet another wet and chilly day when, in the evening twilight, with no prior warning, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, like a signal from the heavens, there it was: A gigantic rainbow towering over this cool, gray city of love.

This rainbow was so spectacular that you could see it from Hawaii. Maybe. 

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

UPDATED: Why S.F. Can Smell Like Poo When It Rains

Posted By on Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 11:22 AM

Dump on our fair city like a tech guy with a blog or an out-of-towner amazed at the discovery of street people all you want, but San Francisco does not generally smell like shit (unless you happen to be standing next to a freshly-deposited pile of feces, which is plausible).

One exception to this smell rule, however, is when it rains. Last night, during the storm that dumped 0.66 inches of rain on the city — including the barrage of hail around midnight — a distinctive odor appeared around 17th and Folsom streets, in the city-owned gym at 21st and Harrison streets, and around Fell and Broderick streets.

That was doo-doo, baby — and the source is the city's sewers, which, as SF Weekly reported in the fall, have the unfortunate knack of disgorging their contents whenever there's a hard rain.

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Monday, February 15, 2016

S.F., Utter Tease, Flirts With Record High Temperatures

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 11:48 AM

The El Nino winter has not broken the drought, and it's certainly not breaking our spirits — unless, as our colleagues at SFist have observed, you have the ill fortune to be reading this from indoors on your office computer screen on this absolutely-screamingly-beautiful winter's day that everybody else is enjoying outside, on the beach, sunbathing, laughing at you. 

For it is a holiday Monday in February, and temperatures in San Francisco are in the mid 70s, according to WeatherUnderground.

Whether caused by chemtrails or by the flow of warm water and air around the Pacific, this winter's heat, is also nearly historic, as the record for February 15 is 74 degrees, set in 1997. (The National Weather Service is predicting record weather, with a forecast of a high of 77.)

By the way, that drought. It hasn't gone away.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Busing the Homeless? "Tent City" Homeless May Relocate — to Pier 80

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 2:50 PM

  • Ekevara Kitpowsong/SF Examiner
  • Tent City.

When you're living on the street, information is currency. Some homeless folks have phones, sure, but the data they're looking for isn't a quick Googling away. Where eat, where to sleep, and where to score are all important — and which shop owners aren't going to flip if they see a tent pitched outside even more so.

But what's currently on the minds of every dweller in San Francisco's Tent City, U.S.A. — centered underneath the US-101 overpass where South of Market and the Mission District meet — has been where they're going to be forced to next.

“Move anywhere between Folsom and Bryant, [police said]. Anywhere here, we're good,” said street resident Hoyt Walker, who's been documenting the city's recent response to homeless on his YouTube channel TheHoytShow.

Last summer, Mayor Ed Lee famously said that homeless people would have to "move" while the city welcomed Super Bowl 50 to town. Now that the Super Bowl is here, there's another problem: Tent City has become overly congested, dangerous, combustible.

“When it's spread out, it doesn't look bad," Walker said. "They didn't really know how many people were out here.”

But now, the residents of Tent City can feel something else coming, a new plan in the works to push them even further out of the way before the approaching flood of Super Bowl tourists.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

How Much Time Can We Buy Until High King Tides and a Vanishing Bay Flood Us?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 3:25 PM

  • Tom Hilton/Flickr

Richmond’s Point Isabel Regional Shoreline is a beautiful place to take in a foggy bay morning. Unless you’re having a candid conversation about rising sea levels, in which case that overcast sky starts to look more ominous than peaceful.

“The bay is going to rise: We can’t stop it,” the San Francisco Estuary Institute‘s Jeremy Lowe tells me. “And we can’t really reverse it either. The best we can do, and what we are doing, is to try to soften the blow.”

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Forget El Niño: California May Never Get Out of Drought, UC Berkeley Prof Says

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 12:52 PM

Last year's snowpack — the snowpack of the future?
  • Last year's snowpack — the snowpack of the future?

It's an El Niño winter, and the news is full of rain, sleet, and snow. If only California was as well.

Precipitation so far in this wet winter that is supposed to save us from the worst drought of our lifetimes is only slightly above "normal"  — and in some parts of California, including the southern Sierra, precipitation is still below normal.

Think about that. The long-awaited wet weather event has, so far, just barely pushed things to around what's supposed to be "normal."

This may be a hard fact to fathom this weekend, as you drive through more rain in order to reach the snowed-in approaches to Lake Tahoe — lucky you; drive safely — but other scientists agree. The four-year drought that's seen reservoirs and groundwater supplies dry up is not over — not unless several more El Niños follow on this one's heels. 

In fact, according to one U.C. Berkeley researcher, the state may never recover from the drought.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Report: SF Bay's Beloved Fog is Toxic, Out to Get You

Posted By on Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 6:55 PM

Like tuna fish and children's toys made overseas (which is to say: all toys), the San Francisco Bay Area's legendary fog may look and taste good, but don't be fooled: it's a toxic brew.

Hanging on in the condensation that envelops our fair city like a wet wool blanket are droplets of mercury — and at concentrations 20 times that of the mercury found in regular old rain, according to scientists at UC Santa Cruz and elsewhere.

And mercury, a byproduct of burning the fossil fuels that bring us all the pretty things we enjoy, is a neurotoxin, the San Francisco Chronicle reported today. All of a sudden, the fact that climate change is reducing San Francisco's iconic fog isn't so terrible anymore.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

El Nino Begs Question: When Is Your Property Going to be Underwater?

Posted By on Mon, Dec 21, 2015 at 4:10 PM

Warning signs. - BAY ON THE BRINK
  • Bay on the Brink
  • Warning signs.

If you were driving northbound on US-101 toward San Mateo last week, you may have noticed a new billboard with an alarming announcement:


This disconcerting news is brought to you by Our Bay on the Brink, a public outreach campaign cooked up by environmental groups and big businesses anxious about the potential for devastating floods that will inflict tens of billions of dollars in damages throughout the Bay Area’s low-lying regions.

Sometime in the next couple of decades, a storm the likes of which California hasn’t seen in a century-and-a-half is going to swamp us. But this isn’t about climate change or rising sea levels (although those greatly exacerbate the risk). These kinds of storm are part of Mother Nature’s business as usual.

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

SF is Ready for El Niño, but is Still 1,000 Beds Short of Sheltering the Homeless

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 11:28 AM

  • Robert Kouse-Baker/Flickr

Today’s forecast afternoon showers — which could herald up to 3 inches of rain in the Bay Area over the next day — will be a taste of the rainy weather expected to overtake San Francisco in the coming months, as El Niño does its dirty work in earnest. The city says it’s prepared for the deluge. 

Yesterday, Mayor Ed Lee announced that 1,100 new shelter beds will be made available, and the city has already distributed 13,000 sandbags, CBS reports. There are still a lot of unknowns, however, including how the city’s drought-ravaged (and unkempt) trees will withstand potential flooding and high winds.

“There’s going to be a lot of trees coming down,” said Anne Kronenberg of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, “because they don’t have the root structure that they would have had before.”

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

King Tides Give Bay Area a Sneak Peek at Rising Sea Levels

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 10:40 AM

The Embarcadero on Monday, Nov. 23 - DAVE R/FLICKR
  • Dave R/Flickr
  • The Embarcadero on Monday, Nov. 23

"The sun, moon and the earth are in proper alignment," sayeth the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admistration's latest San Francisco weather alert, not to urge you to start a new fitness routine or get back in touch with an old friend, but to "encourage the largest tidal cycle of the season." The so-called King Tides, which began yesterday and will continue through tomorrow afternoon, have prompted coastal flooding warnings throughout California. 

Tides in Northern California could increase water levels by as much as 8 feet, according to the California King Tides Project. The group (a coalition of government agencies and non-profits) wants Californians to use this opportunity not just to gawk at the admittedly exciting view of water spilling over the Embarcadero, but to imagine our future when the sea level rises — a future scientists generally agree is imminent.   

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    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"