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#HellaStorm Was More Like a Sandstorm 

Tuesday, Dec 23 2014

Sand is not dirt cheap. It's less.

And, if you're a city resident, you can walk away with up to 300 pounds of the stuff for free (provided you can walk while hauling 300 pounds of sand). During inclement weather, the Department of Public Works offers San Franciscans up to 10 30-pound sandbags — which are valued at $2.70 a pop. Prior to this month's so-called "#HellaStorm," the DPW must have felt a bit like Oprah; 200 bags were given away in one 10-minute stretch. Overall, the city handed out nearly 13,000 bags. Even after the rain subsided, many could still be seen around town, stopping up garages or stacked atop one another like tiny forts.

It wasn't always so easy to give away sandbags. In 2009, prior to a storm that dropped a hell of a lot of water on locals' heads, DPW officials lamented to SF Weekly that, of the 3,000 bags set aside for locals, fewer than 100 had been claimed.

In both 2008 and '09, San Franciscans were doused. It rains in San Francisco in December, after all. But those storms didn't carry their own social media campaign. This one did.

It's an ephemeral world out there. And, in spite of that, DPW officials urge locals to hold onto their sandbags. For the next "storm of the century."

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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