City officials have called a state of emergency and have asked residents of at least three apartment complexes on the cliff to leave as soon as possible, most recently on Monday, when 20 residents were told their apartments on 310 Esplanade Avenue were “yellow-tagged,” indicating the building was no longer safe.
“Cavities in the bluff are forming to the south, west and north of the building and these critically over-steepened slopes are anticipated to fall back to more stable profiles in the next several days,” CNN quoted Chief Building Official Mike Cully as saying.
The erosion has already caused the back yards of the apartments, located a few miles from San Francisco, to fall into the sea. Residents were allowed to re-enter their homes only to gather belongings.
Michael McHenry, who lives in the apartment building, told CBS San Francisco a balcony from the building next door collapsed onto the rocks below on Saturday.
“I can’t continue to have a professional work life and a social life and come home and not know if my property is gonna be there,” he said. “It’s no way to live.”
According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, El Niño is “an oscillation of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather around the globe.”