Bernal Neighbors Gaze In Awe As Sky Explodes In Cascade of Orange and Lightning


Just before dusk last Saturday night, the skies above Bernal Heights lit up like an Electric Kool-Aid Acid Apocalypse.

The clouds had been funky and exceptionally fluffy all day, but just as the sun was preparing to set, a storm squall blew through San Francisco. So when the sun dropped near horizontal behind Twin Peaks, the color and texture of the sky basically… exploded.

Much like our ancient druid ancestors, the residents of modern Bernal Heights took note of the fiery sky and gazed in wonder. Yet unlike our druid ancestors, we had smartphones to document the amazing moment #nofilter style.

Neighbor Beth Zonderman captured the incredible moment shown up above, when the billowing orange sky lit up in a zap of lightning. Incredible.

Your Bernalwood editor was on Cortland, having a Substantial Conversation with a friend at the glamorous Pinhole Coffee. The shop filled up with a spooky orange glow, and everyone inside piled out onto the sidewalk. Here’s what I saw:


The contrasts between light and dark, and color and greyscale were astonishing. Check out this stunning moment Neighbor Darcy saw outside Heartfelt:


Neighbor Christel saw this as she walked near the Coso green in Precitaville:


Neighbor Karen looked up from her home just off Alabama:


This was Neighbor Elizabeth’s view from Bocana:


And here’s what Neighbor Michele saw from Precita Park:


Chef Tim from Ichi Sushi was crossing Cesar Chavez when the sky exploded, and he took note as well. Celebrity chefs appreciate freaky weather patterns… just like us!


A photo posted by Tim Archuleta (@ichichef) on

Neighbor Jason took a wide-angle panorama of the Sutrito Tower hilltop (click to embiggen):


Neighbor Rik was up on the Hill at the time, to take this shot:


Meanwhile, Neighbor Jonathan gazed in awe at the spectacle of Bernalese gazing in awe at the spectacle:


Here’s what Neighbor Brian saw when he looked south from atop Bernal Hill. WITH A FRIKKIN’ RAINBOW! The National Weather Service tells Bernalwood this can happen when a storm front passes through a bank of unicorn glitter:


Then, after gazing at the storm gazers, Neighbor Jonathan turned his camera to the west, where he saw Sutro Tower presiding magisterially:


PHOTOS: See citations in text. All photos are the property of their photographers. 



The Bernalwood Rainbow Situation Control Facility has confirmed a dramatic Rainbow Event that startled Bernal Heights this morning.

Reports are still streaming in, but as of 09:44 this morning, this is what we have been able to learn thus far from our correspondents in the field.

Cfenton shared this AMAZING shot of a rainbow touchdown at Folsom Gate:

rainbow.cfenton copy

Here’s some perfection from Neighbor Jana:


Neighbor John witnessed this explosion of color:


One from Neighbor Dale:


Meanwhile, on The Twitters…

A terrific Double Rainbow panorama from Neighbor Jason (click to embiggen):

Double Rainbow - Jason Brown

And a cool arc over La Lengua from Neighbor Jeff:


Of course, we now face a severe risk of unicorn swarms, so all Citizens of Bernalwood are advised to remain alert. If you see unicorn glitter, please call 311 so the City can send over a Unicorn Control Officer.

UPDATE 28 February, 2015: Image processing specialists from the Bernalwood Office of Photographic Intelligence worked through the night to study the immense trove of data revealed by yesterday’s rainbow storm. Using advanced unicorn detection algorithms and inverse chromatic filters , they surfaced some truly remarkable after-effects that occurred at the touchdown sites of yesterday’s rainbows.



Windy Winter Storm Brings Bernal Rainbows, Erratic Electricity, Sad Trees, and Excellent Powder Skiing


Last weekend’s winter storm brought a lot of welcome rain, but it also took a toll.

A group of unfortunate Precitaville neighbors on Treat went without power for many hours, until PG&E installed a handsome mobile generator to get the lights back on:

PG&E Generator

Neighbor Rusty got the executive summary:

Update on the PGE outage Friday around Precita Park (8-9pm aprox), and the extended outage on Treat.

I talked to PG&E and got the lowdown on what happened. Friday night, around 8pm, an underground high voltage line that runs along the south side of Precita between Harrison and Treat shorted out. This is the line that feeds the power pole at the bottom of Treat.

It will take several days to permanently fix the cable on Precita that feeds our street. It is unclear if this will involve digging up steet/sidewalk, they’re still investigating the details.

This explains why when the first outage happened it affected a wider area. The short tripped breakers/fuses upstream. PG&E was able to isolate the problem area (the feeder to Treat) and disconnect it, returning power to the adjoining neighborhood.

They have installed a generator on Treat in front of Oaks and the rear of Immaculate Conception. This has been connected to the power lines going up and down treat. This was slightly involved, as in required that they disconnect all the transformers up and down the street, and install jumpers onto the 120/240 feeds so it would continue up the street.

Neighbor Paul spotted a world-famous piece of landscape art: A spiral jetty in Precita Park!


And then, of course, that big old tree fell in Precita Park. Sadness. Also, largeness:


This morning I saw a City crew was cutting away at the big fallen tree and stuffing the parts into a chipper. The tree is gone, but its biomass will live on. Farewell, Big Precita Tree.

Perhaps to make up for that, conditions were perfect for rainbows on Sunday afternoon, as Bernalwood activated the Rainbow Alert Warning System. Sure enough, at about 3:30 on Sunday afternoon, Neighbor Darcy captured the above view from Berhal Hill of a double rainbow bringing euphoria to the Mission and downtown. Neighbor Brian verified it as well:

One other blessing this storm  brought us: A fresh blanket of fluffy snow on Bernal Hill! Conditions are perfect this morning at Ski Bernalwood, and here’s a photo taken just moments ago as one lucky skier scored first tracks beneath Sutrito Tower:


Have fun out there!

PHOTOS: Rainbows at top, Darcy Lee. PG&E by Neighbor Rusty. Spiral Jetty by Neighbor Paul. Fallen tree by Neighbor Merin. Powder skiing on Bernal Hill by Telstar Logistics

UPDATED: Trees Down! Windy Storm Validates Newtonian Physics in Bernal Heights


The Bernalwood Heavy Weather Operations Center has been activated, and we are receiving multiple reports of Trees Down in Bernal Heights because of today’s high winds and rain.

Reporter Lyanne from the Action (Action… Action…) ABC7 News team shared a #superawesome #tweetreport from Crescent about an unfortunate Tree/PG&E encounter.


Neighbor Rob also shared a video with us. He writes:

Recorded this from a few doors down from my house between Cortland and Prospect. The street is covered with branches too. Yikes! Nobody was hurt and luckily no car was parked there too. Cheers!

Lets go to Neighbor Rob, who brings you this on-the-scene iPhone report:

The winds are a-blowin’ and wooden things are a-fallin’. Please be extra careful out there, citizens.

At 2:57 pm today, Neighbor Judy sent this dramatic photo from Folsom near Ripley:


She writes:

So windy: Auntie Em! Auntie Em!
Hope you’re all warm. & dry!

6:05 pm and there’s a very big tree down in Precita Park:

That tree down in Precita Park is a big one, and it’s in the southwest corner of the park near Folsom, right in front of Hillside Supper Club. Neighbor Merin shared these photos:



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.


Storm Clouds Animate Fiery Sunset on Bernal Hill


Storm clouds and a setting sun often make for a stylish pairing, and yesterday’s weather did not disappoint.  Neighbor Charlie shared the photo above, taken on Bernal Hill yesterday as the sky lit up in an intense swirl of orange and black.

Not far away, Jenna Bilotta snapped this handsome profile of Bernal Hill.  Don’t you love how the orange sky accentuates our dashingly handsome profile?


PHOTOS: Top, Neighbor Charlie. Below, Jenna Bilotta