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Updated: 2017-08-18T15:06:27-07:00


Solar eclipse 2017: What will the East Bay’s weather be like?



The sun will rise—and disappear—in the east

Monday morning may see fog in the city coinciding with the day’s total solar eclipse. It is San Francisco in the summer, after all.

With that in mind, some sun watchers may plan to decamp for a different collection of ZIP codes rather than risk an obstructed view of a spectacle that won’t come around again for nearly 30 years.

Here’s a look at the Monday morning forecast in the East Bay:

  • Alameda County

The National Weather Service says it’s nothing but blue skies smiling at Oakland and the surrounding area during the relevant period, a sunny (and then shady) contrast to the gray day across the bay.

“Mostly sunny, with a high near 77,” is the word for the daylight hours on Monday, with of course an added 100 percent certainty of 75 percent darkness starting around 9:00 a.m. or so.

NOAA’s Cloudiness Map, on the other hand, gives Oakland watchers only a 47.5 percent chance of being able to reasonably discern the event, with “overcast” being the most likely of the five listed cloud cover types for that day.

NOAA calculates this based on historical records of cloud cover in the same spot in year’s prior, so it’s not necessarily a fool-proof system. Hence why it’s called a prediction, of course.

Hayward, on the other hand, has an over 57 percent shot at a clear view that day, according to NOAA, with “clear” being the most likely conditions.

  • Contra Costa County

NWS is calling for even sunnier prospects further east on Monday, with nary a cloud nor hovering fog in sight. “Sunny, with a high near 83,” is the word, again with the aforementioned interruption of sunlight notwithstanding.

NOAA gives Concord and the surrounding area an 88.8 percent chance of having a clear view, with virtually no historic precedent for cloud cover. Further south around the Livermore area it’s 86.6 percent.

Clearly the best best for a cosmic view is to beat a path east. But we all know how fickle the Bay Area’s microclimates can be, and no forecast can tell us with certainty what fate is written in the stars (or barometric pressure), so anything could happen.

(image) Luc Viator

San Francisco’s most and least expensive homes this week


A clash of contemporary contemporaries Friday is time for the High & the Low, a Curbed column chronicling the most and least expensive homes sold in San Francisco in the last seven days. Here’s this week’s pageant of extremes. In its previous life, 432 Moraga was as nondescript as a house comes in the city, an inoffensive 1923 build with three beds, two baths, and a $1.22 million sales receipt from 2014. Three years later this home came out the other side as a much more sleek and stark four-bed, four-and-a-half bath bit of business. True, the interiors, though plush, are predictable with the exception of a few Tetris-like room shapes in the floor plan. But at least sharp, hard angles of its bare and minimalist new curb face are potentially intriguing. As realtor Pete Brannigan (who did not handle 432 Moraga’s sale this week, for the record) notes, though, this rebuild was something of a roll of the dice. The previous million dollar-plus sale is a big chunk of money but hardly unusual in the city. It’s recent $2.99 million asking price, on the other hand, was a bit more ambitious. Brannigan quotes a Paragon realtor pointing out, “Builders took a big risk hoping that buyers would accept the $2.5 [million] to $3 million price point.” Golden Gate Heights is hardly a low-end neighborhood. But of the half dozen homes listed there right now on Redfin, for example, only one asks more than $2 million, and none approach $3 million. So it may have been an open question quite how much starch was in this potential sale. The final result seems to have paid off, though, closing the deal a week ago for $3.15 million. Presumably, that qualifies as a plan coming together. And in a handy coincidence, this week’s biggest bargain home opts for a certified contemporary look all its own, and this 11-unit circa 2012 condo collective also was until recently a much less ambitious looking building. The number 201 studio apartment of this SoMa locale sold for $249,000 when knew and could possibly have doubled that money in the last five years, although the list price stopped a bit short at the $449,000 mark. And in an admirable bit of restraint this sale managed to keep the final bid under half a million dollars, coming out the San Francisco equivalent of a thrifty deal at $465,000 this week. Even studios that dip below the $500K mark seem like scarce quarry these days, so enjoy it while it lasts. 432 Moraga [Hill & Co] 432 Moraga, 2014 [Google] Luxury Popping Up In “Affordable” Nabes [Pete Brannigan] Golden Gate Heights [Redfin] 574 Natoma, #201 [Gary Snow] 574 Natoma, 2007 [Google] [...]

$8.9 million SF home sits directly across from the Marina Green


1930s Spanish-Mediterranean comes views of the Golden Gate Bridge Too often in San Francisco, multi-million-dollar properties are built, renovated, and exchanged, all of them with lackluster staircases. Such a shame. So drama-free. So listless. Without naming names, homes upward of $5 million offer muted, rinky-dink stairs that have all the glamour of an office building stairwell. But not 465 Marina. Featuring six beds, five and a half baths, and roughly 5,420 square feet, this Spanish-Med gem, right across the street from the Marina Green, boasts a circular staircase replete with wooden stairs and banister. Of coure, it’s hardly a sweeping staircase fit for Norma Desmond’s final descent, but it’s still comparatively grand for San Francisco real estate. But that’s not all: Other choice details include new hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, fireplace, and large picture windows with views of the Golden Gate Bridge. And do note the window in the master bedroom’s closet. Little touches like that are what take properties to the next level. Asking is $8,995,000. 65 Marina [Hill & Co.] Marina District [Curbed SF] [...]

Solar eclipse: 9 best places to view it in the East Bay (updated)



You won’t want to miss this celestial event

On August 21 a total solar eclipse will move over the U.S. for the first time in nearly 40 years. While not every everyone will be lucky enough to see the phenomenon in its totality—only 14 states will have total visibility of the eclipse—Northern California will be able to catch 75 percent coverage.

And starting at 10:15 a.m. PDT, the Bay Area will be able to catch it for roughly two minutes. (According to NASA, “the longest period when the moon obscures the sun's entire surface from any given location along its path will last about two minutes and 40 seconds.”) This sighting is rare, and you won’t want to miss it.

We’ve mapped a few choice spots in the East Bay with high vantage points and great views of the sky that will give you a clear view of the partial eclipse. And for those of you stuck in SF, here are the best places to see the celestial moment, provided the weather clears up.

Remember: Sunglasses won’t work to see it. You need to use the solar-eclipse-approved filters. Staring at the sun without them will cause serious retina damage.

And if this is your first solar eclipse, here are eight tips from the pros on how to watch.

Update: While some places have sold out of solar eclipse viewers, there are still some places in the Bay Area to find them.

Solar eclipse 2017: Where to find eclipse glasses in the Bay Area


Do not look directly at the sun—seriously Monday’s total solar eclipse will not be totally total here in San Francisco, only obscuring about 75 percent of our view of the sun at its height at 10:15 a.m. But it should still be quite a spectacle. And observers who want to take in that spectacle will need the precaution of some spectacles. NASA warns solar gazers: “The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses [...] or solar viewers. “Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.” Only those within the totality of the eclipse (which lies both north and east of Northern California) can look at it safely with the naked eye, and even then only for a moment. But locals who still don’t have specialized shades in hand will have to hunt around and hope they haven’t all been snatched up by other eager would-be cosmic observers. A few potential leads: The San Francisco Main Library will have 300 pairs for guests of their viewing party on Monday, “first come, first serve.” Remember, it won’t get completely dark here, so people will see you if you try to cut in line. Previously, America’s libraries had millions of pairs of give-away glasses. Most of them are gone, but the Space Science site map still lists the Ortega Street branch as an SF pick-up point, so it may be your last best hope. Public Domain The Exploratorium sells eclipse glasses for $2.75 each, although they warned the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday that they were selling out fast. Earlier this week the South San Francisco Library was advertising some of the free shades through Saturday. But only “as supplies last,” so it is definitively time to start hurrying. For the truly desperate, the Lick Observatory in Hamilton City was also still packing specs this week, at $2.50 each. That’s Hamilton City in Glenn County, by the way, more than 160 miles from San Francisco. But the next total solar eclipse won’t hit Northern California until 2045 (giving us a much better view then), so for some it might be worth the trek. The San Jose Mercury News reported this week that Lowe’s stores in Richmond and Gilroy still had plenty in stock. There may yet be a pair in waiting if you call around. Finally, although vendors like 7-11, Best Buy, Toys R Us, and Walmart said they sold out days or even weeks ago, it is barely possible that they’ve gotten a few of the hot-sellers back in stock at the last minute (or were holding a strategic reserve to boost the price just before the big event). This is pretty desperate, but that’s what comes of desperate times. On a final note, beware of shady deals on off-brand eclipse glasses that may not actually protect your eyes. Anyone who has a suspiciously high volume of solar-shielded specs might be trying to sell you a corona calamity in the making. Family Flickr Eclipse In SF [Time and Date] Eclipse 2017 [NASA] Solar Filter List [NASA] Solar Eclipse Glasses at Library [SF Fun Cheap] Eclipse Library Sites [Space Science] Lick Observatory Glasses Almost Gone [Mercury] Where To Find Glasses [Chronicle] [...]

Mapping San Francisco’s 17 most glorious fountains



From a fountain of turtles to a misting dandelion, these gushers will have you gushing

With all of the buzz lately about restoring Armand Vaillancourt’s polarizing but perennially topical fountain in Justin Herman Plaza, it’s worth remembering that San Francisco seems to have a distinctly love/hate relationship with fountains as a medium in general.

Some of the city’s most glamorous geysers have met with mixed reactions in their time. Others may have been well received but fell into neglect and run dry. While others are just overlooked entirely.

But with California’s first post-drought summer in years drawing to an end and the spigots still flowing, it’s time to laud the distinctive watermark that these pieces leave on our fair city, before we have to risk the chance that the fickle California weather gods leaving them all left high and dry again soon.

‘Real World: San Francisco’ house hits market for $6.9 million


True story Photos via Redfin Arguably the best installment of the Real World franchise—introducing the world to such characters as Pedro Zamora, Pam Ling, Judd Winick, and a hygiene-free bike messenger who will remain nameless—the San Francisco season of the MTV reality show lives on in the hearts of many Gen Xers. For several months in 1994, a group of seven strangers lived inside Russian Hill’s 949-953 Lombard. And now that space, where laughter, tears, and peanut butter atrocities were all caught on camera and launched into the pop culture lexicon, is on the market. The circa-1925 Russian Hill home is now being sold as a triplex. After a fire tore through it ten years ago—a neglected scented candle reportedly caused of the blaze—it’s been redone. Gone are the purple and orange colors of the ’90s. Today it features bright white interiors, new hardwood floors, and updated kitchen and bathrooms. Rumor has it if you listen closely, you can still hear Cory crying about only God knows what this time. Featuring seven beds and seven baths, spread out across the three units, the top unit has exclusive access to the 1,500-square-foot roof deck. This house (which shouldn’t be confused with the home featured in the second Real World: San Francisco, MTV’s blasphemous and detestable 2013 failed return the Baghdad by the Bay) hit the market in May, but it’s been making the rounds as of late. In 2014 one of the two-bedroom units was renting for a cool $5,800. Anyone interested in purchasing this slice of reality television, will need plenty of cash. Asking is $6,999,000. 949-953 Lombard [Hill & Co.] MTV’s ‘Real World’: Every Single Outrageous House, Mapped [Curbed] Your First Look at MTV's The Real World Sutter Street Digs [Curbed SF] House Used For MTV's Original SF 'Real World' Season Hits Market For $7M [SFist] MTV's 'Real World' House in San Francisco Available for Unreal Price of $7M [SFGate] [...]

Solar eclipse: 10 best places to view it in San Francisco (updated)



Phenomenon visible in the U.S. for the first time in 40 years

On August 21 a total solar eclipse will pass through the United States for the first time in nearly 40 years, according to NASA. But not all states will be able to feast their eyes on the full eclipse. In fact, only 14 states will have total visibility of the eclipse.

Don’t fret, everyone will have the opportunity to experience a partial eclipse. San Francisco will experience a partial eclipse at 10:15 a.m. PDT and will be able to see 75 percent of the sun blocked.

This sighting is rare and lasts roughly two minutes, and you don’t want to miss it.

We’ve mapped out the best places with high vantage points and great views of the sky that will give you a clear view of the partial eclipse (if Karl plays nice, that is).

Updates: Here are eight choice places in the East Bay to catch the solar eclipse.

Weather-wise, fog is on the horizon and in the air on the morning of the eclipse. Here’s what to look out for.

Solar eclipse 2017: What we’ll see in San Francisco (updated)


The shade of it all On Monday, August 21, the nation will see a rare astronomical event: a total eclipse of the sun, caused when the moon moves directly between the sun and the earth. While the eclipse is expected to be visible across most of the U.S., the part of the country that will experience its totality—i.e., when the moon completely blocks the sun—is far more limited. The nearest place to see the total eclipse is in Oregon. In preparation, the state is expecting millions of visitors within its borders around that time. (Only 14 states will see the corona, the eclipse in its totality.) But for those who can’t head up to Oregon at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning, will the eclipse still be worth watching in San Francisco? Absolutely. According to Vox, the path of the totality is only about 70 miles wide, and will be best viewed in the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, and the Southeast. (Vox also has a handy interactive tool that tells you how much of the eclipse you’ll be able to see in your zip code.) Although the Bay Area isn’t in the total eclipse region, the region will see 75 percent to 76 percent coverage. The eclipse should begin in San Francisco around 9:05 a.m., and peak at roughly 10:22. One potential snafu for watching in San Francisco: the weather. The city is known for its foggy days, and this summer has been a big one for Karl. Heading north of Sausalito or anywhere in the East Bay could mean more reliable, clear weather. Photo by Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images People watching a 2009 solar eclipse in Mumbai, India. As for where you can see the eclipse, there will be many places in the Bay Area to witness the shadiness. Here are the top spots in San Francisco to see the eclipse happen, provided fog doesn’t show up to the party. San Francisco 76 Percent Solar Eclipse Viewing Party at the Embarcadero, a free event for locals at Cupid’s Span along the Embarcadero. Menlo Park Library will have a viewing party featuring snacks and free viewing glasses. San Carlos Library will hold a party from a two-story rotunda where you can also watch it via the NASA Eclipse Megacast. The Robert Ferguson Observatory, located in Sonoma, will be open from 8 a.m. to noon. Please note that the Lick Observatory will not be open for viewing on Monday, August 21, as they are too far south from the path of totality. Pay careful attention to the solar eclipse glasses you purchase, especially online. Not all companies hawking viewers can be trusted. “To properly view the Sun lead up to and following the eclipse, you need solar filter glasses that are in good condition and meet the standards set by the International Organization for Standardization,” reports The Verge. (You could even build your own eclipse viewer.) For those who plan on venturing north to Oregon and into the path of totality, partial eclipse will start around 9:06 a.m., peaking at around 10:15 a.m. Photo by Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures According to Curbed Seattle, “Those within 10 to 20 miles of the tip of the lunar shadow will experience what feels like a brief nightfall.” The next solar eclipse in the United States won’t happen until April 28, 2024, when it will travel between Texas and Maine. Update: The solar eclipse will have an affect on our electricity grids, shutting off a lot of electricity production as it moves across our country’s solar arrays. Forbes reports: “The shadow from the moon will be 70 miles wide as it races across the United States at well over 1,000 miles per hour, from Portland, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. On the way, it will cut solar power production by about 9,000 MW (see figure below), about as much electricity as produced by fifteen coal fired power plants.” We’ll update this post as more inform[...]

Solar eclipse 2017: What will San Francisco’s weather be like?



What to expect above for the big celestial event

As expected, the weather in San Francisco will reportedly be foggy on the morning on the solar eclipse, Monday, August 21.

According to the National Weather Service’s 10-day forecast, there will be “patchy fog before noon,” which could mean an entirely obscured celestial phenomenon. However, Weather Underground predicts a cloudy morning with sun breaking through around 9 a.m. on the morning of the eclipse.

These forecasts are subject to change.

Typical cloud cover on August 21

Using data. for August 21 in the United States from 2001 to 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), working with the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies (NCICS), put together a cloudiness map—or “average historical cloudiness.”

“Historically speaking, cloudiness may factor into each location’s chance for a good viewing. NOAA’s NCEI and the Cooperative Institutes for Climate and Satellites–North Carolina (CICS-NC) reviewed past cloud conditions for August 21,” notes NCEI. “We found that the coasts could be susceptible to cloudier conditions and that increased cloud cover may be possible as the eclipse travels across the country east of the Mississippi River.”

Which is to say, cloudy skies are possible throughout the nation. But locally-speaking, heading to the East Bay might be your best bet.

Karl or shine eclipse events

So what happens if, as expected, fog blankets San Francisco during the eclipse? Well, there’s always the NASA livestream of the eclipse—which the American Museum of Natural History will be broadcasting at the Hayden Planetarium that afternoon.

And be sure to check out The Verge’s comprehensive coverage of the eclipse, who will be livestreaming the event.