West Coast Update: Pineapple Express Pounds California

By Susie Reese

Caused by a stream of tropical moisture called the Pineapple Express, one of the worst storms to hit the west coast in years battered San Francisco yesterday, dropping up to 10 inches of rain in certain parts of the region and whipping winds up to 147 mph in the Sierra foothills.


Navigating the Bay Area

Portions of major highways, including California’s north-south artery Interstate 5, were closed due to flooding, and even a section of the iconic Pacific Coast Highway was washed away. San Francisco’s airport saw more than 240 flights cancelled, and the city’s legendary cable cars were shut down due to the weather. USA Today’s Elizabeth Weise explains the extent of the damage.


Impact Upon Locals and Travelers

The storm also knocked out power to San Francisco’s Financial District, North Beach Hill, the Marina, and Pacific Heights, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Pacific Gas and Electric Company reports that more than 400,000 customers lost power, but power has been restored to most of the region.


The Grand Hyatt San Francisco was without power most of the day but used generators to work all elevators and operational lighting. The hotel was relocating all guests arriving yesterday and giving this as an option for those in-house, but power has since been restored. The hotel is now running “business as usual,” according to a hotel operator.

San Francisco tours that were cancelled due to the storm may be refunded or rebooked. The following tours/tour companies did not run yesterday:

– Alcatraz.

– San Francisco Sightseeing Company.

– Red and White Tours.

– San Francisco Helicopters.

– The Urban Safari.


What’s Next?

The rain is expected to continue through the Bay Area today with the four major rivers peaking, which will add more water to some of the already flooded areas. Power is expected to be restored to the entire region today.

As the storm moved south across Los Angeles, mudslides are expected in areas hit by the state’s devastating draught, and areas around the Sierra Nevada Mountains have already reported snow. San Diego is expected to receive urban and small stream flooding today with no major impact upon travel.



(Photo Credit: staneja/Twitter)