An uncommonly intense April storm, dubbed Pineapple Express and powered by an atmospheric river, has pummeled northern California since Friday, prompting San Francisco officials to put up flood barriers, Yosemite to close campgrounds, the SF international airport to cancel more than 100 flights and Giants fans to lament that a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers has been postponed due to a rare AT&T Park rainout. This is the second atmospheric river in two weeks. Strange weather anomaly again!
The storm began late Thursday and was forecast to continue into Saturday, dumping a total of 1 to 3 inches of rain in San Francisco and Oakland. In the North Bay, 3 to 6 inches were anticipated. “This rainfall event itself could provide us with our normal rainfall for the entire month of April,” said Roger Gass, a weather service meteorologist in Monterey.
San Francisco received record rainfall Friday from the “Pineapple Express” storm, which forced the cancelation of more than 150 flights at San Francisco International Airport and the first cancelation of a San Francisco Giants game in more than a decade. The impending storm led the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday to deploy “temporary interlocking flood barriers” to protect properties in a flood-prone area around 17th and Folsom streets in the Mission District.
There were a number of road closures and minor car crashes reported Friday in Sonoma County. Two people two people and two dogs were rescued from a car that became swamped on a flooded road. A driver was injured in Loleta when her car fell into a sinkhole.
Another concern was the scorched earth left behind by October’s Wine Country wildfires. Officials were watching for mudslides in the affected areas. Authorities say the concern is not the amount of rain but how fast it falls. “When we start talking about half an inch of rain or more an hour, that’s where we’re more susceptible to mudslides and debris flow in and around our burn zones.”
Yosemite National Park was expecting “significant impacts” from the storm. At Yosemite National Park, all campgrounds and lodging in Yosemite Valley were closed starting at 5 p.m. Friday through Saturday because of flooding fears. All Saturday reservations were canceled for Yosemite Valley.
— Sandhya Patel (@SandhyaABC7) 7 avril 2018
At the Oroville Dam in the Sierra Nevada foothills, officials were monitoring the storm and waiting to see if they would need to release water through a recently rebuilt spillway. The half-mile-long concrete chute partially collapsed in February 2017, and crews have been reconstructing it over the past year. The project isn’t complete, but officials said the spillway should hold if it needs to be deployed.
The predicted deluge and potential for thunderstorms in San Francisco left the Giants-Dodgers game scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Friday hanging in the balance. Since the opening of AT&T Park in 2000, just five Giants games have been rained out. The last such cancellation happened April 12, 2006.
Atmospheric rivers stretching across the Pacific Ocean inundate the West Coast with torrential rain and flooding, and buries the Sierra and Cascades and Pacific Northwest mountains with massive snowfall each year. But this is the second such storm in less than two weeks! Something is really wrong with our weather!