28 December 2012

Forgotten Hills: Hunters Point Hill

San Francisco is famous for its hills. However, out of the dozens of hills, small and large, high and low, some have been forgotten or ignored. Some of these hills have yet to be named. Some hills have some sort of name, however, they aren't part of the cities general knowledge. This time we look at San Francisco's easternmost hill: Hunters Point Hill.

Name: Hunters Point Hill
Height: 125 feet
Ridge/Hill Group: Hunters Point Ridge
Prominence: 25 feet
Original Height of 171 feet had a 50 foot prominence and a 171 foot prominence to the east.
Confusion: often confused with Stony Hill, which is the high point of the ridge at 282 feet.
Where: The Shipyard Development (Former Hunters Point Naval Station)
Cross Streets: Jerrold Ave and Coleman St

UPDATE: Find about about other Forgotten Hills. Black Point at Fort Mason, and La Portezuela

Hunters Point Hill seen from Donohue and Jerrold streets. Friedell Street is in the foreground with Jerrold crossing the hill.
Hunters Point Hill is one of San Francisco's lowest hills at 125 feet according to US Geological Survey (USGS) maps. Only Rincon Hill (105'), Fort Mason Bluff (100'), Alice Griffith Hill (75') and Irish Hill (50') are shorter. Much like Rincon and Irish, it appears to be one of the most carved out hills, as shown by the Google StreetView image below. The rather modest peak is to the right the right of the blocked off street (Innes St).
Photo: Google Maps
Many folks may have forgotten about the hill for several reasons. For decades it resided in an off-limits naval base. Also, rising a modest 125 feet, or by some counts, only 106 feet, the hill isn't quite the promontory of a Telegraph Hill or the dominating height of Twin Peaks. The main reason is that it is overshadowed by its higher neighbor, Stony Hill (282') and Mt. St. Joseph (250') (Silver Terrace). These two are much higher, and are in areas much more frequented by people.

As shown on the map below, you can see that Hunters Point Hill lies on the east end of the Hunters Point Ridge, rising about 50 feet above the saddle in the ridge separating it from Stony Hill and the higher parts of Hunters Point Ridge. It's one claim to a superlative is the fact the hill is the easternmost hill on the San Francisco mainland. (Goat Hill (338') on Yerba Buena Island lies slightly further east.)

Hunters Point Hill in southeastern San Francisco on the Hunters Point peninsula.

Hunters Point Ridge and local topgraphy. Source: San Francisco Topography Map

19 December 2012

The Streets of Flooded San Francisco

After the damage and flooding wreaked by Hurricane Sandy, one has to wonder whether San Francisco could be hit by such a storm. Will rising seas mixed with an El NiƱo induced Pineapple Express be enough to flood downtown San Francisco or erase Ocean Beach?

Several months ago we made a similar map showing 25 foot sea level rise showcasing topography. Several people commented that they liked the map but wanted to find out whether or not they would be above or below water. Now you can actually find whether you'll be affected with this new street map version.

We don't know which neighborhoods will be worst hit after a given storm, but we do know sea levels are rising, and that with climate change, those hurricanes off Mexico's Pacific Coast could come north some day. We don't know when or how severe, but we could get a 25 foot storm surge at some point.

Below is a map of San Francisco showing what our coast would look like with a 25 foot storm surge or basic 25 foot sea level rise.

You can buy this map as a poster at Zazzle.

24"x 24"  ($20)

You can also learn more about the topographic poster version of 25 foot sea level rise here.

Folks along the Great Highway and 48th Avenue, the dunes may protect you, but there's an opening at Golden Gate Park that will allow flooding of the highway and 48th Avenue. The beautiful old Dutch windmills would be vulnerable to such a rise. The other well known low lying places are vulnerable: Marina, Financial District, Mission Bay and Islais Creek.