If you are tired of seeing stories about rain, this is the last post on the floods of ’69. I was trying to recreate the relentless nature of the storms with the daily postings but after this I am returning to the usual three posts a week cycle. It takes longer to research items when they are scattered in time. This post combines the last two days of flood coverage; February would bring another kind of flood with implications we are still debating.
January 29, 1969
The rain took a break but the stories were still flowing in.
Staff Writer Warren Groshong reported on the damage to Cambria:
The water system in the little community of Cambria is a mess.
Flooding waters of Santa Rosa Creek have broken main lines at two points hand half the town has water only by the grace of 1,800 feet of borrowed fire hose.
Two of the three well pumps that feed the system are suspended on their vertical pipes over the swollen creek, out of operation and looking something like a pair of primitive, muddy space needles in miniature.
Until the first heavy rainstorm hit 10 days ago and washed away hundreds of feet of bank, the pumps were sitting on solid ground.
Everybody in town has water, but the quality of the water is not good. Efforts to chlorinate have failed an county health officer Dr. Howard Kusumoto has warned all Cambria residents to boil water from the taps before using it for consumption – even for brushing teeth.
With only one pump to keep the storage tanks full, residents have been asked to use water judiciously. Forget laundry for a while.
As much as 50 feet of creek bank went out to sea threatening the Post Office and a high school shop building.
Fire chief Raymond Campuzano compared floods to his days before he retired as a Los Angeles fire department captain.
“This is hard work for me, but it’s really child’s play after four nights of duty during the Watts riots.”
Meanwhile Cambria, like dozens of other communities, hopes the skies will be kind for a while.
January 30, 1965
Reporter/photographer Michael Raphael took an aerial tour with county officials. The county can fit Delaware and Rhode Island inside, with room to spare so there is a lot of ground to cover, especially when roads are under water or washed out. Charles Wiswell, president of Swift Aire, the pioneer airline in the county, piloted the tour. The airline was scheduled to start flights to Sacramento and San Francisco February 15. Raphel reported that there were water marks on both sides of Cholame Valley, indicating the volume of water in the normally dry valley.
In another story food drops were made by helicopter from Vandenberg Air Force Base and one family was rescued. Mr. and Mrs. Donald Barnes and two children ran out of provisions on Monday after being isolated for a week at a ranch house near French Camp. They tried to make the 5-mile trek to the paved road but the truck stuck two miles from the house. Both parents were found carrying children a half mile further down the road.