Epic cleanup begins after New Year’s Eve floods inundate San Francisco businesses

San Francisco (KGO) — The Bay Area is cleaning up and drying out after a New Year’s Eve storm dumped near-record rainfall.

An epic housecleaning took place at the Rintaro restaurant on 14th Street in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood.

Heavy rain caused at least three to four feet of floodwater to flood the cafe on Saturday.

“I noticed that the water was starting to collect on the street and then go to the front,” said owner Sylvan Mishima Brackett.

Tomorrow: Category 2 storm floods Bay Area roads, freeways

He said his staff were preparing bento boxes for the New Year when a wooden flood gate malfunctioned and matters became urgent.

“Half of us were standing on the table and the rest were inside. At one point, there was nothing we could do but evacuate. I lined up people, jumped into chest-deep water, waded out into the street — — Crazy, he said.

Mishima Brackett’s little park was anchored, but it’s now on the sidewalk after it nearly floated away.

Someone was found floating on 14th Street. Floodwaters rushed through the gates of MotoHaus. Ziki Abed’s motorcycle storage business quickly ran into trouble.

Tomorrow: Here’s how severe flooding drenches Bay Area roads, damages property

“Within 15 minutes, the garage broke down, water came in and the place was full within half an hour,” Abed said.

A large-scale cleanup is currently underway and damage estimates remain unknown.

The Rainbow Grocery on Folsom Street was flooded and signs on the door told customers the store was closed. Employees in personal protective equipment are cleaning up inside.

“I would say this is the worst flooding we’ve ever seen, we’ve had flooding before,” said Yilda Campos of Rainbow Grocery.

Tomorrow: New Year’s Eve storm set to be San Francisco’s second wettest day on record

“We’re doing sanitization and a lot of deep cleaning right now,” said Michael Kelley of Rainbow Grocery.

Many cars were submerged and some were towed away. Kristina Kaiser isn’t optimistic about her Ford Escape.

“The car was completely flooded, the engine light was flashing, and I didn’t know if it could be fixed,” Kaiser said.

Restaurant worker Feliciano Cintas said he dug debris out of storm drains during the storm to alleviate flooding.

Tomorrow: USGS Says Preliminary Magnitude 5.4 Earthquake Near Humboldt Co. Rio Dell

In doing so, the water level finally came down,” said Cintas.

Many business owners have blamed storm drains for not working properly after more than 5 inches of rain fell in the city, but the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission told ABC7 News in a statement:

In this area, clogged catch basins are not the cause of flooding. Instead, it was an extreme weather event that exceeded the capacity of any system.

Many are hoping 2023 starts off better than 2022 ends with a storm.

“I’ve lived here 15 years. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Kaiser said.

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