Beginning in the middle of the night on March 19th, 2011, gusty winds, rain, thunder and lightning blew through San Francisco at an alarming intensity. It sure kept me awake. Today, I took my camera to Golden Gate Park to see if the winds and torrential rain caused any serious damage to the park. I was surprised by what I found.
According to Weather.com, the gusts of wind were expected to reach up to 45 miles per hour. This ranks just shy of a nine out of twelve on the Beaufort Wind Scale, which gives wind intensity a number based on miles per hour. It was shocking to see how many of the park’s beautiful trees had lost mass amounts of their branches. People had to step over and duck under the debris that was blocking pathways.
I also noticed that near Stow Lake, some areas of the dirt paths were completely flooded. Gravel was poured over certain particularly flooded areas to make walking through the mud easier.
John McLaren, one of Golden Gate Park’s original designers, organized the planting of over 155,000 of the park’s trees in the late 1800s. It was sad to see many of them not just missing branches, but completely fallen over at the trunk.
The wind has subsided for now, but storms are expected to hit again later this week.
All photos by Cindy Waters