An ‘abnormal,’ monsoon-like weather pattern hits Southern California in early July, and for the city dwellers lucky enough to have a place in an apartment, that means long, hot afternoons in the city’s heat. It can be dangerous, too, with heavy downpours.
By the time the storms strike, it’s too late. The city’s air-conditioners aren’t up and running. Most of the sidewalks are empty. The only people walking down Mission Street are the homeless, heading home from a night on the street. It’s a surreal scene.
And then the rains return.
In the two months after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in August 2005, the Bay Area was hit by the most rain it had ever experienced.
It rained so hard in the city itself, water poured through the streets like water through a sieve. The city began to get flooded.
And then it rained even harder.
People took refuge in their cars, but the streets weren’t enough to protect them from the rising waters.
The streets became even more dangerous. At times, water levels rose so high that the city began to get flooded inside the city limits.
And people weren’t the only ones getting injured. For five days after the storm, police officials in San Francisco and at the county’s headquarters spent as much time rescuing people trying to cross the flooded streets as they spent helping people who’d fallen in.
It was a mess.
“When you see the photos and video of the aftermath, you realize in hindsight, oh, this was a disaster that was going to be a disaster, and it was a disaster that was going to be the death of San Francisco, and we had not the foresight to prepare or to prepare in time,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
But, Lee said, “There was so much good that came out of this, too: The sense of urgency, not just across the city, that no matter what had to be done, that we