Bernal Heights Survives the Hellastorm in Fine Style (but Occasional Darkness)

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Well, that was dramatic, wasn’t it? And wet, too.

Maybe you called it the Rainpocalypse, or maybe you called it a Hellastorm, but no matter what nomenclature you embraced, yesterday’s epic rainstorm definitely made its presence felt. Early in the morning, a few Bernal neighbors shared status updates:

After a hearty breakfast, it was time to assess the situation first-hand. Your Bernalwood Action News Team activated Stormchaser One, our heavy-weather news vehicle, to explore Bernal Heights:


We began by driving up to Bernal Hill, where we saw a small river flowing down the closed portion of Bernal Heights Boulevard near the Folsom Street gate:


A little farther east, someone was standing next to the weird tree-shrub thing with an umbrella, looking rather rakish and fashionable:


Happily, however, Bernal Hill did not seem likely to wash away, so we headed to Cortland, to assess the situation. Cortland was quiet, with a few stores open and lots of available parking. We parked Stormchaser One in front of Heartfelt, just as Miss Darcy walked out to say a stylish hello:


From there we headed into the Good Life Grocery, to see how supplies were holding out. We were reassured to see that the available inventory of fine cheeses remained robust, despite the pre-storm preparedness crunch:


On Facebook, Neighbor Lupe had shared a photo of the flooding on Alemany, near the Farmer’s Market and the Spaghetti Bowl interchange:


Yet by the time Stormchaser One arrived, the clogged drains had been cleared and Alemany had been closed to traffic. But no sooner had that situation been resolved than another crisis struck: Much of North Bernal and Precitaville suddenly went dark. Power failure!

Here’s how the impacted area looked on PG&E’s (not very helpful) outage map:


Stormchaser One returned to the Bernalwood mothership on Precita, and sure enough… our power was out too!


Fortunately, the stove was still working, so the Bernalwood Action News Team fortified ourselves with some rather delicious French onion soup. This brightened our mood, but as the afternoon wore on and the power remained out, the novelty of the blackout began to fade. When the sun finally set, darkness prevailed in our corner of Precitaville:


Luckily, the power came on — and stayed on — by around 6 pm, which made the storm feel cozy again.

So we survived. And you? How did you fare? Share your Hellastorm stories and cuisine tips in the comments.


11 thoughts on “Bernal Heights Survives the Hellastorm in Fine Style (but Occasional Darkness)

  1. A good chunk of South Slope lost power around 7:15 — just as I was feeling smug about having been passed over — and stayed dark for about an hour.

  2. While riding my bike down Bernal hill this morning I was happy to hear the brook-like gurgling sounds of the water spilling over rocks and branches. It’s like we have our own little river for a few days!

  3. Manchester St. lost power around 10 am. It came on for 10 minutes around 4 pm, then stayed off until about 7. As darkness fell I could see that the houses behind us (on Folsom St,) had power.

    We have power today, but no landline phone service (yes, we still have a landline).

    Fortunately, no leaks (thank you, Tom Lee Roofing, for last year’s repairs).

    (And yes, the PG&E outage map is not very helpful.)

  4. We were without power for most of the day. PG&E’s update map was less than helpful (they never did give an updated ETA as to when the power would be restored). Around 4:30 it came back on only to go off again 10 minutes later for another 2+ hours. To add insult to injury, right after that, I received a robocall telling me that my power had been restored and all was well in PG&E’s world. Meanwhile, across the street, they were lit up like Disneyland. I gotta say, if a rainstorm (which did not produce even close to the normal wind gusts that Bernal is used to in the spring/summer) knocked out the power for 8+ hours, I don’t have a lot of faith that PGE’s infrastructure will fair better when another large earthquake or storm hits.

  5. I prepared well and stocked up on food essentials, had the torch & a good book ready and had secured animals and lawn furniture. Then I sat back and remembered I was sitting in Sydney Australia and maybe Stormageddan wouldn’t quite make it to me and I would have to live it vicariously. Happy to report this far west, all good, though sadly now I need another excuse to read that book.

  6. Since my garage slopes down, it was like the Nile River. I opened the back door to let the water somewhat escape. We had power here on Moultrie & Crescent luckily. I feel as if my friend (The Cane) needs a warm raincoat. Aluminum canes are quite Cold. Have a good day & stay Warm!!!

  7. Lots of rain, but continuous power. Discovered that our skylight sweats — condensation on the inside that we never experienced before because the skylight used to have interior glazing.

    Went out in the middle of the day: no flooding worth noting along Alabama, Harrison and Florida in the Mission. 24th street was normal.

    Felt like just a lot of rain, though I knew that others were experiencing worse.

  8. I’m in Precitaville and enjoyed a quiet, candle lit day with my dog in front of the gas fireplace. So romantic.

    My favorite storm recipe: Garlicky kale & eggs for one. Great for gas stoves, but you need an igniter. No dangerous knives needed.
    1. Before the storm: tear kale leaves into large bite sized pieces. Store in a sealed container in fridge. (Munch on fresh stems, keep for soup, or compost them.)
    2. During storm: Place a large splash (2T) of water to a simmer in a pan, and add 1 cup kale leaves. Toss with spatula. Cover and turn heat to low for 1-2 minutes. Remove kale and set aside.
    3. Pour out excess water from pan. Heat a large splash of olive oil in the pan for 30 seconds on medium heat.
    4. Fry 2 eggs in the pan until half cooked (1 minute each side).
    5. Add kale back into the pan. Drizzle scant amount olive oil onto the kale. Add a dash of garlic salt or other desired seasonings.
    6. Saute on medium, gently turning eggs and kale a few times with spatula. Time as desired. For example, 30 seconds for creamy yolks, 1 minute + for hard.

  9. Stocked up on milk and tequila in preparation of a multiple day blackout.

    Good practice for the earthquake, we were pretty well prepared but my rain gear and boots were found to be definitely subpar.

    San Francisco AM radio must have had their best ratings day in a long time!

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