January 19, 1914
The photo is from Arroyo Grande city offices and this storm headline is from the same year. The raging creek is not the big one, it is Arroyo Grande Creek tributary Tally Ho.
The Daily Telegram headline is more than a little schizophrenic. On one hand it says the damage is light but even the same deck of the headline calls the storm one of the most severe on record. The story documents damage throughout the region so let’s send that headline back for a rewrite. Four inches of rain in a day is a major storm for this area. The official mark for Saturday, January 17 was 3.94, add in the trace amounts of the next two days and the mark just reaches 4.00 inches.
The epic storms of 1969 began with a two day total of 10.53 inches.
4 INCHES OF RAIN FOR STORM
Light Damage From One of the Most Severe Rainstorms Ever Visiting San Luis Obispo County
CITY PRACTICALLY SHUT IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS
Fears for the Santa Clara and Its Eighty Passengers Allayed When Boat Puts Into Port San Luis Today
Rainfall for the storm which began Saturday morning at four o’clock, up to eight o’clock this morning, according to measurements made by Sinsheimer Bros. in inches……4.07
Government reports from Saturday at five o’clock in the morning until noon today, in inches…..4.00
Official total rainfall for the season by government report, in inches…..15.67
Delayed trains, overdue mails, washed-out bridges and isolation from all points north and south for over twenty-four hours, followed in the wake of the heavy rainstorm and gale that began Saturday morning at four o’clock and continued incessantly and without placating until Saturday night at ten o’clock, when the rain ceased falling but the gale continued to blow havoc in the damage strewn trail of the storm.
All telegraphic and telephonic communication with points north and south were impaired and at a standstill for many hours, between Saturday night and Sunday morning, until repair gangs were sent out to locate and repair the trouble.
Sunday afternoon telephonic communication with Port San Luis or points up the coast in the dairying section could not be hand. Long distance lines both north and south were all down. Gangs of trouble men are out today in all directions repairing lines.
Two large trees were blown across the Telephone Co’s wires near the P.C. depot. [Pacific Coast Railroad had a depot near today's intersection of Higuera St. and Madonna Road.] The lines, all of which lead to points southward and are mainly long distance are being repaired today.
Damage in City.
The high wind blew over one of the electroliers on the Marsh street side of the Elks’ building, Saturday, smashing all the lamps attached.
Several lamps and globes on the other standards were also blown off.
Sign Blown Down.
The electrically-illuminated sign of F Chiesa, over the restaurant entrance, was blown loose from the guy wires holding it in place and would have been demolished but for being discovered by a customer when the fixture was dangling by the electric wires that supply the current.
The People’s Drugstore, Higuera and Chorro street, sustained considerable damage when water was blown through the upper part of the windows on the Higuera street side.
The ceiling leaked in several places and the wall paper was well-saturated before the end of the storm. Storm water seemed to be entering along the brick work beneath the cornices of the first floor of the Warden building.
The velocity of the gale gained sufficient strength to up-root a large pepper tree on Marsh street, between Broad and Nipomo streets. The sign of E.P. Valentine, grocer at the corner of Broad and Marsh streets, was blown down.
Owing to the high water on the Southern Pacific line near Bradley, Monterey county, Trains Nos. 9 and 10, otherwise known as the Lark, were detoured over the San Joaquin valley route.
A washout at Arlight, near Santa Barbara, caused a delay of one and one half hours to trains.
Back on Schedule.
All detoured or delayed trains were placed back on regular schedule yesterday afternoon.
Overflowing-storm waters from the Laguna caused a cessation of all travel and traffic toward the southern end of the county. At a point near the Wardens’ Highland ranch, the water was impassable even on horseback, and residents of the section were compelled to make a circuitous route to reach their homes.
Street Lights Out.
Disturbances of the electric light circuits were continuous all night Saturday, the incandescent lamps frequently being extinguished at intervals, the city being in total darkness for as long as twenty minutes at the time.
There were no street arc lights burning Saturday or Sunday nights, although the incandescent lamps behaved well. Crews of linemen are repairing fallen lines today and an effort will be made to have everything going tonight.
Poles Blown Over.
On the lines of the San Joaquin Light & Power Co., between San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande, tree fifty-foot poles, carrying the high power lines of transmission, were blown over and were only held in place by the power lines, when a repair crew, under the supervision of District Agent Geo. L. Howard, re-set the masts.
Bridge Washed Away.
Bridge at Morro flats between this city and the dairying section, was washed away.
The approaches to the bridge over Toro Creek were cut away by the current to such an extent that the stream was made impassable Saturday. It was thought that other bridges either damaged or washed away toward the San Simeon end, but as telephonic communication is cut off, reports are not available.
Storm at Sea.
One of the roughest and highest running storms in fifteen years is reported from ocean points. At Santa Barbara the seas were reported as breaking over the wharf and efforts of any vessels to tie to the wharf were regarded as foolhardy.
The storm was general all along the Pacific slope, from extreme northern section of the Oregon coast to the extreme southern section of California.
Santa Clara Safe.
Safe arrival this morning at eight o’clock of the steamer Santa Clara of the North Pacific Steamship Co., which was reported as being in distress last night, set aside all fears for the vessel, its crew and the eighty passengers aboard.
The Santa Clara left Santa Barbara at eight o’clock Sunday morning making the passage in twelve hours of the roughest sea-fighting in the history of the vessel.
Santa Clara did not put out to sea as reported, but remained at anchor in the harbor at Santa Barbara.
District Freight & Passenger Agent Jas. S. Sullivan arrived here yesterday afternoon by rail, having left the vessel at Santa Barbara. He reports the down passage as one of the most tempestuous in the experience of the ship’s officers.
Santa Clara will sail about four this afternoon after loading freight for northern points.
Fair Weather Promised.
Indications for San Luis Obispo and vicinity for the next 24 hours are fair weather.
Thermometer at the Commercial Bank rose steadily this morning reaching 30, and it as the “very dry” mark. [This must be a barometric reading because another story puts the high temp. at 55 and the low at 43.]
In other front page news, Ignace Paderwski, world famous pianist visits Paso Robles Hot Springs seeking a cure for acute nueitis. I can’t find a listing on Google for that malady but neuritis is nerve inflammation.
A group of unemployed men described as an “army” were moving by horse drawn wagon to Shandon. Sheriff C. A. Younglove was heading out to turn them away.
An earthquake was reported being felt by several local residents but no damage was reported.
United States Asphalt Co. at Avila Beach shipped 125 tons of refined asphalt to San Francisco for the Panama-Pacific Exposition.
Only a newspaper geek would care about this note, but single copy sales on news racks must not have been a priority, only a subscription price is on the front page, fifty cents per month. Oh, and a front page ad for that sweet grain drill you’ve been looking for.