Mandated Flood Disclosure Approved As Rain Batters Bay Area

Property owners will soon be required to disclose flooding risks to potential renters or buyers.

Hours before rain would surge into San Francisco roadways, San Francisco supervisors unanimously approved legislation on Tuesday that requires that property owners disclose flood risk for prospective renters and buyers.

Should Mayor London Breed sign off on the legislation, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will mail written notices to property owners in low-lying areas prone to flooding, Bay City News reports. In turn, those property owners must inform potential buyers or renters of runoff during a 100-year storm, also known as an extreme storm with a one percent chance of occurring during any given year.

The vote on Tuesday came just hours before the Bay Area faced a downpour, leading to several reports and images of flooded freeway ramps and clogged drains in San Francisco. San Francisco Public Works staff were seen responding to a mudslide on Bernal Heights Boulevard and a tree that fell on a parked car on Dolores Street, and stalled cars, as NBC Bay Area and KRON report. The Great Highway along Ocean Beach closed in both directions Wednesday morning with no estimated reopening time

By Wednesday afternoon, downtown San Francisco hit a record of 2.13 inches of rain since midnight for Feb. 13 daily rainfall. Another quarter-to-half inch of rain will fall on Wednesday and Thursday will see one half to three-quarters of an inch, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Rowe.

A flash flood watch has been in place for the entire region since Tuesday and will likely lift Thursday morning after rush hour. Areas like Ocean Beach and the Embarcadero will be part of a coastal flood advisory from 4 to 8 a.m. Thursday, when runoff and hide tides coincide.

The 100-Year Storm Flood Risk map released by the PUC last year, which informed the legislation, identified more than 4,000 properties vulnerable to flooding and gives Wednesday’s flooding a broader look. Predictably, areas built around creeks and waterways — Ocean Beach, Mission Bay, Bayview, and parts of the Interstate 280 — are at risk. But so are chunks of Western Addition, San Francisco State University, and areas near West Portal. 

As rain continues to spatter, PUC officials request that people who see clogged drains to call 311 and Rowe advises drivers to avoid flooded roads, which can be deeper than it appears and also dangerous.

“It’s never worth driving through flooded roadways,” Rowe says. “Turn around, don’t drown.”

San Francisco’s 100-year flood map (Photo courtesy San Francisco Public Utilities Commission)

Related Stories