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Updated: 2017-10-18T16:25:11-07:00


Map of California North Bay wildfires (update)


More than 20,000 residents have already been evacuated Update Oct. 18: “More than 42,000 Sonoma County residents return to homes still standing after wildfires,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Meanwhile, Cal Fire reports full containment on some of the wildfires in the North Bay, with the Nuns and Tubbs fires contained at 80 and 91 percent, respectively. According to the Press Democrat, the death toll has climbed to 42. *** Update Oct 16: The death toll climbed to 40. Several of the fires have merged into each other, with a few small fires breaking out south of San Francisco in Silicon Valley. In better news, containment levels also rose over the weekend. *** Update Oct. 12: Cal Fire links to this Google Map (see below) to keep residents updated about the location and status of fires statewide. As of Thursday morning, only the Ridge fire near the southern tip of Mendocino National Forest is marked as 100 percent contained. Press Democrat also has a comprehensive map using continually updated data provided by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. *** Update Oct. 11: The death toll is now at 21. Nearly 170,000 acres have burned. And mandatory evacuations were ordered for Napa County, most recently for all Calistoga residents. According to the weather report, there's a new red-flag fire warning issued for Wednesday and Thursday, with gusty winds predicted for the area. New blazes have also spread across the region. “State fire officials said at least 22 wildfires were burning Wednesday across the state ... while destroying up to 3,000 homes and businesses, most of them on the north edge of Santa Rosa,” reports SFGate. The fires have spread, most notably in Solano County, while area evacuees have headed south to Marin County. Here’s a map of the fires currently in progress in the state. Note the cluster of blazes in the North Bay representing the wildfires: src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen=""> *** Update Oct. 10: The death toll has climbed to 15, with hundreds of missing persons reported. Smoke and ash continue to blanket San Francisco. And as of Tuesday, more than 90,000 PG&E customers in the North Bay are without power. *** The North Bay wildfires, which are believed to have begun Sunday night in Napa, have caused widespread destruction throughout wine country and beyond. An estimated 1,500 structures have already been destroyed, while more than 65,000 acres burned as of Monday morning. Most offices and schools are closed for the day. Roughly 20,000 residents have been evacuated. According to SFGate, “Mandatory evacuation orders were in place for certain residential areas of Santa Rosa and surrounding cities. The latest order came at 10:45 a.m. It was for Rincon Valley—all areas north of Montecito Boulevard from Brush Creek Road to the eastern city limits—and all of the Oakmont area, east of Melita Road.” The series of blazes, none of which have been contained as of Monday afternoon, have spread throughout several counties in Northern California—specifically, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake, Nevada, Butte, Calaveras, Shasta, and Yuba. Here’s a map of the Santa Rosa evacuation area (dated October 9) src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen=""> Satellite footage shows what the fire and smoke look like from above, captured by the NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service: NOAA's #GOES16 shows #wildfires (in Geo & Natural Fire Color) raging in parts of #California yesterday. More loops:— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) October 10, 2017 Bear Fire [Cal Fire] Wall Of Fire Blazes [NBC Bay Area] Santa Cruz Mountains Evacuated [Chronicle] New Fire Evacuations In Santa Cruz [KTVU] [...]

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Mapping the scariest Halloween movies shot in San Francisco




This post was originally published in October 2016 and we're bringing it back for maximum spooktacularity.

Movies love San Francisco, and our foggy streets and dramatic Victorians seem a natural fit for tales of terror. But compared to thrillers and dramas, there aren't many horror flicks shot in the city, especially when compared to Los Angeles.

Nevertheless, it's All Hallow's Eve month, so we've rounded up the scariest movies ever shot in the city, chronicling a smattering of psychos, radioactive beasts, and even the occasional vampire that have popped up everywhere from the zoo to the Ferry Building.

Read on, if you dare.

BART promises it will finally cut down on screeching noise


New design will alter the way train wheels hit rails Have you heard? BART is loud. Very loud. In the transit agency’s 2016 customer satisfaction survey, riders graded the noise levels on trains as the third-worst thing about the system, ranking behind bathroom cleanliness and paucity of BART cops on trains, respectively. Even lack of elevator cleanliness netted fewer complaints than the infamous screeching noise familiar to many a transit rider’s ear. In a blog posted Monday, the agency promises new wheel-to-rail innovation that will reduce that train’s trademark shriek. The agency writes: By slightly tapering the wheel profile using the latest simulated modeling techniques, we hoped to reduce metal-on-metal contact and its consequences. The new, reduced-contact wheel profile has shown as much as a 15 decibel decrease in interior noise on the current fleet. 15 fewer decibels may not sound like a big jump, but remember that decibels—like the Richter Scale—are measured logarithmically, not linearly. For example, according to the UK-based sound management company IAC Acoustics, the difference between ten decibels and 20 is the difference between the sound of normal human breathing and the sound of leaves rustling in the wind. But the difference between 100 and 110 decibels is the difference between the sound of a jackhammer and the “average human pain threshold.” BART says that 13 percent of its “legacy fleet” (i.e., all of the trains except for the new cars) come equipped with the newfangled wheels, with 90 percent making the switch by the end of 2019. The transit agency also claims it will spend the next five years grinding the track rails during late night service in order to produce a better surface that will have less agitated interaction with trains. And the relief will come not a moment too soon for regular passengers. A 2011 study about BART’s banshee wail in the peer-reviewed Journal of Urban Health noted: We have personally witnessed child and adult passengers covering their ears while riding BART, wearing ear protection such as earplugs or earmuffs, and pairs of individuals leaning close together and shouting at high volume in order to carry on a conversation. The paper, penned by two San Francisco State University researchers and one researcher in Portland, found “evidence of potential noise exposures that may be deleterious to the health of BART passengers.” Since trips on BART are relatively short, there’s probably not much danger to most riders. But the paper notes that a commuter base numbering in the hundreds of thousands exposes a lot of sensitive people to noise levels that could pose a permanent threat to hearing loss. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images BART Takes Aim at Noise [BART] 2016 Customer Survey [BART] BART Sprays Bacteria Eating Mist [Curbed SF] Comparative Noise Examples [IAC] A Study Of Rider Noise Exposure [Urban Health] [...]