San Francisco, CA

Top Climate Change Risks:

Drought, Precipitation, Flood

Risk Snapshot

Climate Change Hazard Ratings for San Francisco, CA

Ratings represent risk relative to the continuous United States. 100 is the highest risk for the hazard and 1 is the lowest for the U.S., but does not indicate no risk. Flood and fire are rated based on the buildings in San Francisco exposed to these hazards. See hazard sections below and check your address for details.

People in San Francisco, CA are especially likely to experience increased risks from drought, precipitation, and flood.

Drought and precipitation risk in San Francisco, CA is high. Heat risk is relatively low. About 12% of buildings in San Francisco, CA are at risk of flooding, and the risk level for these buildings is relatively low. About 5% of buildings in San Francisco, CA are at risk of wildfire, and the risk level for these buildings is relatively low.

Fire and flood risk can vary significantly for individual properties within a city. Check your address for detailed heat, storm, fire, drought, and flood risk through 2050.

Drought risk in San Francisco, CA

The recent average water stress in San Francisco is significant and projected to increase through 2050.

The San Francisco Bay watershed, which contains San Francisco, CA, has experienced 662 weeks (58% of weeks) since 2000 with some of its area in drought of any level, and 189 weeks (17% of weeks) since 2000 with some of its area in Extreme or Exceptional drought. Source: National Drought Monitor.

Climate change is increasing the risk of drought. Water stress (the ratio of water demand to supply) depends on how water utilities source water and their plans to adapt to climate change. Property owners can also take steps to reduce their risks from drought.

Precipitation risk in San Francisco, CA

The amount of precipitation during the most extreme days in San Francisco is projected to remain about the same through 2050.

An extreme storm for San Francisco, CA is a 48-hour rainfall total greater than 0.8 inches. Historically, about 12.8" of rain (or the equivalent in snow) fell over about 10 storms each year. By 2050, about 13.3" of rain are projected over about 11 storms each year. The annual precipitation in San Francisco, CA is projected to increase from about 22.1" to about 22.6".

Extreme precipitation in any form can pose significant risks. Climate change increases the potential for extreme rainfall or snowfall because warmer air can hold more water vapor. See more information on storm risk. Property owners can take steps to reduce their risks from extreme precipitation.

Flood risk in San Francisco, CA

Buildings at risk in San Francisco average about a 12.0% chance of a flood about 8.0 inches deep over 30 years.

Of 229 census tracts in San Francisco, CA, there are 15 where more than half of buildings have significant risk from high tide flooding, surface (pluvial) flooding, and riverine (fluvial) flooding.Property owners can check a specific address for flood risk including FEMA flood zone, then take steps to reduce their vulnerability to flooding damage.

Climate change is increasing inland and coastal flooding risk due to sea level rise and increasing chances of extreme precipitation. See more information on flooding risk.

Heat risk in San Francisco, CA

The number of the hottest days in San Francisco is projected to keep increasing.

In a typical year between 1985-2005, people in San Francisco, CA experienced about 7.0 days above 80.0ºF in a year. By 2050, people in San Francisco are projected to experience an average of about 18.0 days per year over 80.0ºF.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of heat waves, even in places with cooler average temperatures. See more information on heat risk. Everyone can take steps to reduce their risks from extreme heat.

Fire risk in San Francisco, CA

The risk on the most dangerous fire weather days in San Francisco is low. The number of these days per year is expected to increase through 2050.

Of 229 census tracts in San Francisco, CA, there are 41 where more than a quarter of buildings have significant fire risk, and 30 where more than half of buildings have significant fire risk. Property owners can take steps to mitigate their risks from wildfires.

Fire risk) depends on proximity to vegation: densely developed urban areas have a much lower risk of burning than areas adjacent to wildland. Climate change increases risks from wildfire by creating hotter, drier conditions for fires to spread. ClimateCheck ratings of fire risk are based on projected weather conditions and U.S. Forest Service models simulating fire behavior.

How can we prevent and adapt to climate change?

Mitigating climate change, by eliminating our emissions into the atmosphere and reducing our strain on the environment, and adapting to our changing planet are both vital to our well-being.

Understand Risks

The risks presented on this page reflect averages for San Francisco, CA and can vary for individual properties. Check your address and request a report describing risks to your property and in your area.

Protect Homes and Communities

Check our free report for tips on protecting your home from hazards.

Green infrastructure is a category of nature-based solutions for managing increasing precipitation. Find resources for individuals and municipalities through the EPA Soak Up the Rain initiative.

Planting trees and vegetation helps reduce extreme heat in urban environments. Cool pavements can also help. Search the Heat Island Community Actions Database to see what some municipalities have been doing to reduce extreme heat risk.

Read more about building resilience for communities: U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

Use the Common Cause tool to find your representatives, how to contact them, and information about political contributions and bills they have introduced.

Find Balance

Reducing emissions is necessary and possible across the globe and in every part of our society. Learn more with the Project Drawdown introduction to climate solutions.

Estimate your emissions with the CoolClimate calculator.