Category Archive: Weather

Apr 28

Dodging Death in Stormy San Luis Obispo, World War II week by week

April 14, 1943 Telegram-Tribune documents an attempted escape from Alcatraz Prison.

Obispan Dodges Death As Bolt Hits Pillow One San Luis Obispo man escaped death by the bare margin of a whim during the heavy electrical storm her Tuesday night. If Andrew Chessmar, 1841 Slack street hadn’t decided to leave the comfort of the davenport in his living room to read in a nearby chair, he …

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Feb 22

Union Oil pier collapse, the storm of 1983

The Union Oil pier in Avila Beach collapses into the surf Tuesday afternoon after pounding waves undermined its pilings. 
©Ken Chen/Telegram-Tribune

Periodically big storms come in and wreak havoc with piers. For example in 1907 the Oilport pier, in what is now known as Shell Beach was demolished by a fierce storm. The pier at Port San Luis is usually the most sheltered in the region but thirty years ago no place was immune. The winter …

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Dec 05

Flooding on South Higuera Street

Cal Poly instructor John Boyd eades along lower Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo Monday as he walks home because buses weren't running. ©Tony Hertz/Telegram-Tribune

Humans like to build on flat level land. Problem is the water likes it too. We can go decades between floods in San Luis County but when a cloud bursts the results can be swift. Any time rain falls faster than one inch per hour flooding is likely to follow. Parts of South Higuera Street …

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Mar 15

Snow blankets the hills on Highway 41 between Atascadero and Morro Bay

Snow covers fields along Highway 41, winter scene at Antone J. Chves ranch between Morro Bay and Atascadero. ©Jim Vestal/Telegram-Tribune

Afternoon papers put special pressure on finding images the same day. If snow fell a phone call might come in before sunrise to get out and find a picture by first light and hustle back to the paper to develop, edit and print so the presses could run at noon with a picture from the …

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Feb 22

The 1914 flood in Arroyo Grande, the Leonard Collection

Late January 1914 brought flooding in Arroyo Grande undermining Bridge Street's bridge.

The epic flooding of 1914 has been covered in two previous posts. One shows flooding as Tally Ho Creek cuts through Branch Street in Arroyo Grande. The other shows the structure that gives Bridge Street a name, undermined by flooding. This looks to be the same bridge from the opposite point of view and view …

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Jan 06

1941 in San Luis Obispo County, year in review

Can anybody tell me what Spry is? It comes in three pound cans and sells for 69 cents in 1942.

Seventy years ago San Luis Obispo County was changing in many ways into the place we know today. One army base was expanding and two new ones were being built. The navy was building in Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo was paving  the Mill Street district. A city job was lost when the gas …

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Oct 24

Avila Beach in 1941

Avila Beach 1941 ©The Tribune Lifeguards sponsored by the WPA, County and chamber of commerce appeared for the first time tin 1941 on county beaches. One August day it was estimated that there were 10,000 enjoying the sun and sand at Avila Beach.

Mar 20

1878 Central Coast Tsunami

San Luis Obispo Tribune, November 23, 1878 Tsunami story A wave big enough to come over the sandspit in Morro Bay? Really? Pat Pemberton recently wrote a fascinating overview of the history of tsunamis on the Central Coast. I wanted to go back and pull original newspapers and see what they said at the time …

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Jan 17

Cruella De Vil’s gloves

Page excerpt, July 1, 1890 San Luis Obispo Morning Tribune

One line stopped me cold as I was scanning the Crocker’s department store advertisement in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, July 1, 1890. Dog-Skin Derby Gloves, 5 button length….$1.25 Uh? Did they really skin dogs to make gloves? That’s got to be a euphemism, right? Apparently not. According to a British history website dog leather …

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Dec 20

Nipomo Flooding

MIGRATORY WORKERS CAMPSITE...Rain and mud are the dismal setting in which migratiory pea harvest workers wait out the incesseant drizzle. Huts, tents, trailers, and parked cars in this Nipomo camp offer cramped shelter from weather that has brought their only income course to a complete halt. Red Cross personnel are hastening to collect food and clothing to ward off possible starvation condidtions brough on by the unseasonably late rains. Observers estimate 85 to 100 children are in the families housed in this camp and smaller settlements in the vicinity of Nipomo (Telegram-Tribune photo) Photo is courtesy of the History Center of San Luis Obispo County

The joke about California is that there are only two seasons, fire and mudslide. The season totals in mid-March 1958 were about two inches under our annual average of 24.36 inches for San Luis Obispo. At least two storms that year produced newsworthy flooding. The storm shown there hit Nipomo hard. Before tract homes and …

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