San Francisco

Incoming Storm Triggers Commuter and Flooding Concerns Across Bay Area

The impending storm has prompted commuter concerns among hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents who will cross bridges, take ferries and brave what will be messy, slick roadways to get to work.

As of Wednesday night, the wind was picking up, but there was no rain, so it was business as usual for drivers on the Golden Gate Bridge. That’s one of many things that is expected to change when the storm hits.

The ferry ride out of San Francisco was also smooth sailing, but the Coast Guard issued a warning to mariners to be careful Thursday.

Some commuters, however, aren't sure they can stomach a trip across the bay.

“Being on the ferry is a little uncomfortable when it's choppy,” Michelle Martinez said, noting that in stormy weather the “sea sickness worry goes up.”

Golden Gate Ferry says it can operate safely in the rain and expected 35 mile per hour winds.

Cancellations are not anticipated, but Martinez may commute on land.

“The roads aren't going to be any better unfortunately,” the Mill Valley resident said, adding that in her hometown “buses have trouble because the tide gets so high.”

Martinez is not the only one worried about the high tide.

“The king tide really concerns me,” Joe Luttwak of Blackbird Guitars. “It seems like the perfect storm as far as chances for flooding.”

His store on the 2100 block of Folsom Street in San Francisco has flooded in the past.

On Wednesday, Luttwak’s neighbors put out sandbags in addition to a city-installed flood barrier in the neighborhood. He built his own 14-foot gate.

It is made of waterproof carbon fiber, he said. “We built it like a boat to protect the entrance way.”

With holiday orders to deliver, Luttwak’s hoping the shop stays dry.

“We owe tons of guitars and ukuleles, we are shipping lots to Hawaii,” he said. “It would be total disaster.”

The Mission district is most likely to flood at high tide, which is expected at 11:41 a.m. Thursday.

Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol urged drivers to leave earlier than normal on Thursday morning and to slow down.

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