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Mar 25

Heavy rains in 1958 flood Foothill Blvd.

Flooding along Foothill Blvd. near Los Osos Valley Rd. 2-19-1958 Photo courtesy History Center of San Luis Obispo County (the photo was originally produced for The T-T, it also has a Free Library stamp on back.)

There are times when the rain never seems to end. Having seen times when water was being rationed and lawns painted green with food coloring I try not to complain.

I missed the epic floods of 1969 and 1971 but I have seen Highway 41/46 closed at the Y intersection due to flooding in the 90s. Surreal to see the area where James Dean met his end – underwater.

Some years the rain comes in waves over several days. The beginning of 1958 had a couple of powerful storms. This photo was originally published in the then Telegram-Tribune and later preserved by the History Center of San Luis Obispo County.

This story published February 18, 1958 and contains some garbled sentences. Typesetting was much harder to proofread back in the hot lead days. The newspaper published in the afternoon in those days.

Heaviest rain of season sweeps over county
2.15 inches for S.L.O. in 24 hours

February 18, 1958 Telegram-Tribune front page

Heavy winds and rains battered San Luis Obispo county last night, raising season totals to above normal readings at all area reporting stations.
The 24-hour storm totals varied from 3.20 inches at Cambria, northernmost county reporting station to .65 of an inch at Simmler and 1.26 inches at Arroyo Grande.

Wet Year

San Luis Obispo's official reporting station on the Cal Poly campus recorded 2.5, the highest 24-hour total of the season. The storm raised the season total here to 16.85 inches, compared to 6.80 inches at this time last year and a normal of approximately 14.30 inches.
The weatherman forecasts more rain for the afternoon hours today, with clearing but cloudy skies tonight and tomorrow.
Cambria's Santa Rosa river was flowing at its highest level of the year this morning, accord- campus recored 2.15, the highest ing to judge George Steiner, the official weatherman in the nor-
"It's the biggest storm we have had this season," the judge reported this morning, "but there is no sign of highway flooding. The river is high but running clear."
The storm struck with less fury but brought threatening flood conditions at Paso Robles where city street department crews were in circulation all night to prevent storm drains from plugging.
There were threats of flooding in the downtown business area, but no damage was reported according to Ray Tuley, superintendent of streets in Paso Robles.
Highway 1 was flooded in several sections between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay but no closures were reported. Los Osos valley road was reportedly flooded early today by a culvert washout and water was flowing across Foothill road on the San Luis Obispo side of Los Osos valley road.
The only closure reported by the division of highways was about 3 1/2 miles west of Lompoc on state sign route 150. The road was closed due to flooded conditions.
A lot of water was also reported on the highways near Atascadero.

Had Enough

According to Tom Aidrich office of the San Luis Obispo county farm advisor, the latest storm was a rain the farmers did not want, generally speaking. Aldrich said this morning that the farmers would much prefer some warmer weather at the present time in order to start their crops growing.
Aldrich said the ground is now saturated and the rains are causing some erosion. As yet, according to Aidrich, no one knows just how much.
The rains have also halted spring working of the ground.

A related story on the page said a 43-foot fishing boat broke loose from moorings in Avila Beach and was damaged on the rocks.

Related posts:

  1. Flood of 1914
  2. 1963 Foothill & Santa Rosa Accident
  3. 1958 Tigerettes
  4. Shandon murder 1958
  5. 1969 Floods Day 1-2