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Great Highway reopens after flooding [Updated]

Storm leads to partial shutdown across the entirety of the Sunset District

A photo of Ocean Beach with fog rolling in, with the Great Highway visible in the distance. Photo by Marstar

Update: SF Public Works announced Monday afternoon that the Great Highway was open in both directions again after a lull in the rain gave time for the waters to subside.

More heavy rains are forecast for later in the week.

On Sunday night the San Francisco Department of Public Works (DPW) warned motorists that part of the Great Highway near Ocean Beach was closed due to flooding.

At around 5:30 p.m. DPW made the announcement via Twitter and text alert that the southbound lane of the highway was shut down between Lincoln and Sloat—essentially the entirety of the Outer Sunset—“reopening TBD.”

Heavy rain this weekend has led to minor but noticeable flooding in other parts of the city—DPW also posted video of a sloppy high tide invading the edge of the Embarcadero on Saturday.

According to the National Weather Service storms are expected to keep walloping SF for several more days, with a “chance of showers” on Monday followed by even more rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing up to half an inch of expected precipitation on the worst nights.

The Great Highway is particularly vulnerable to flooding and erosion, so much so that the city actually invests quite a bit of time into shoveling sand from one end of Ocean Beach to another to help protect it and other beachfront byways.

In 2017 the design think tank SPUR even suggested that in the future the city should simply let the Great Highway be swamped by climate change and sea level rise rather than throw more money at fixing a potentially intractable future flooding problem.