La Puente, CA

Fast Facts

Founded: 1956 Population: 39,816 Time Zone: -8
Latitude: 34.02 N Longitude: 117.95 W Altitude: 351 ft
Average High: 79.0 Average Low: 55.8 Annual Precipitation: 16.98

La Puente, CA, is located in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles in Los Angeles County, California. In 2010, the population of La Puente was 39,816. In the 1930s, the area was known for its fruit and walnut groves and was the home of the world's largest walnut packing plant. Today the area is heavily-urbanized.

  U.S. Census Quick Facts about La Puente, CA.

  Census Reporter Demographic Profile about La Puente, CA.


    Page Index
 ◊  History of: La Puente, CA
 ◊  History of CA
 ◊  Weather data for La Puente, CA
 ◊  Historic Weather Events for CA

History of La Puente, CA.[a]

  • Gabrielino Indians live in the area.
  • 1769, Spanish soldier and explorer Don Gaspar de Portola and his expedition arrived in the area. A bridge is build over the San Jose Creek and named "Llana de la Puente" - meaning "Plain of the Bridge".
  • 1771, September 8; the San Gabriel Mission is established by fathers Pedro Cambon and Angel Somera.
  • 1774; The Awingna chief Matheo is was baptized at the Mission San Gabriel.[Ref]
  • 1831, December 5; The Battle of Cahuenga Pass between the unpopular Mexican Governor of Alta California, Manuel Victoria, and local settles lead by Ex-governor José María de Echeandía is fought at Cahuenga Pass near Los Angeles. [b]
  • 1841, November; Business partners John Rowland and William Workman lead a wagon train from Taos, New Mexico, and settle in the area.
  • 1842; John Rowland travels to the capital at Monterey, California, and petitioned Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado for a preliminary title for a 48,790-acre tract of land that formerly belonged to the San Gabriel Mission. They call the tract, the Rancho La Puente.
  • 1845, July; Captain William Workman and lieutenant John Rowland are part of an American and European military contingent that help Pio Pico defeat Governor Manuel Micheltorena in an armed standoff at Cahuenga Pass near Los Angeles at the Battle of Providencia. [c]
  • 1845; The petition for the Rancho La Puente is finalized.
  • 1840s; the population of the area increase during the Gold Rush.
  • 1870s; After the deaths of John Rowland and William Workman, the land that formed the Rancho La Puente is subdivided by developers, who then start communities that become La Puente and Hacienda Heights.
  • 1900's; the region was known for its abundance of citrus, walnut, and avocado crops, and maintained its agricultural character.
  • After World War II; a building boom edges out crops in favor of development, and today the area is mostly residential in nature.
  • 1956, August 1; The city of La Puente is incorporated.
  • 1968; The Donut Hole bakery opens in La Puente, California.[d]

For more information about the History of La Puente, California, visit the following sites:


  1. Los Angeles County Public Library - La Puente Valley   [Online]
      •Wikipedia - La Puente, CA   [Online],_California
  2. Wikipedia - Battle of Cahuenga Pass of 1831   [Online]
  3. Wikipedia - Rancho La Puente   [Online]
      •Wikipedia - Battle of Providencia   [Online]
  4. Wikipedia - The Donut Hole   [Online]

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State History [1]

Ancient times [5]


1500 - 1699



1700 - 1899



1900 - 1999


  • 1900; Oil discovered along Kern River.
  • 1906; San Francisco earthquake killed more than 3,000, left 225,000 homeless.
  • 1910; Angel Island opened, entry point to U. S. for immigrants.
  • 1911; Women win right to vote in California.
  • 1914 - 1918 The First World War. [More Information]
  • 1916, July 22; a bomb, concealed in a suitcase, exploded on the west side of Steuart Street, just south of Market Street, near the Ferry Building. The blast killed ten and forty wounded.[Ref]
  • 1916 to 1947; The battleship USS California (BB-44) was a Tennessee-class battleships, commissioned on August 10, 1921. The California was sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. She was refloated on March 25, 1942, dry-docked and made sea worthy. On June 7, she sailed to the Puget Sound Navy Yard where she was modernized. She severed in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. She was decommissioned on February 14, 1947 and sold on July 10, 1959 and broken up for scrap.[Ref]
    • Laid down: October 25, 1916
    • Displacement: 33,190 long tons (original) / 40,950 long tons (rebuilt)
    • Length: 600 ft
    • Speed: 21 kn (24 mph)
    • Armament:
      • 12 x 14 in (356 mm)/50 cal guns
      • 14 x 5 in (127 mm)/51 cal guns
      • 2 x mark 15 21 in (555 mm) torpedo tubes
        Rebuilt- 1942
      • 12 × 14 in (356 mm)/50 cal guns
      • 16 x 5-inch (127 mm)/38 cal guns in new twin mountings
      • 56 × Bofors 40 mm (1.57 in) anti-aircraft guns (11×4, 5×2)
    • Launched: November 20, 1919
    • Commissioned: August 10, 1921
    • Decommissioned: February 14, 1947
  • 1918: Flu Epidemic infected 500 million people across the world, and killed 50 to 100 million. (see 1918 flu pandemic for more information.)
  • 1920, August 18; Women win the right to vote when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified by Tennessee.
  • 1922, October 8; The Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California is opened.
  • 1924, June 2; Congress passes the Indian Citizenship Act, conferring citizenship on Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States.[Ref].
  • 1928; Great Highway and Ocean Beach Esplanade in San Francisco completed.
  • 1929 - 1940; The Great Depression and New Deal.
    • The beginning of the Great Depression in the United States is associated with the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday. The depression had devastating effects in both the industrialized countries and those which exported raw materials.
    • 1933; The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is created as part of the New Deal to develop resources of poor Appalachian South.
    • The New Deal is the title President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave to a sequence of programs and promises he initiated between 1933 and 1938 with the goal of giving relief, reform and recovery to the people and economy of the United States during the Great Depression.
  • 1931, September 18; Japan invades Manchuria.
  • 1932; The 1932 Summer Olympics are held in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1933, January 5 - 1937, April 19; The Golden Gate Bridge built, it is opened on May 27, 1937. The suspension bridge is 8,981 feet long and spans the Golden Gate, a one-mile-wide (1.6 km) strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. [Ref]
  • 1933; Long Beach earthquake, a magnitude of 6.4, caused widespread damage throughout southern California.
  • 1933, October 12: The United States Department of Justice acquires the United States Disciplinary Barracks on Alcatraz Island. In August 1934, Alcatraz Prison opens. It will close 29 years later.
  • 1934; Bloody Thursday riots took place in San Francisco.
  • 1935; The Soviet Union declares that the fascist states of Germany and Japan are the enemies.
  • 1935, October 3; The Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Italian armed forces from Eritrea invaded Ethiopia without a declaration of war. In response Ethiopia declares war on Italy. On October 7, the League of Nations declared Italy to be the aggressor, and started the slow process of imposing limited sanctions on Italy.
  • 1936; San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened. The west span of the bridge is 10,304 feet long and the east span is 10,176 feet long.
  • 1936; Parker Dam completed.
  • 1937, April 19; The Golden Gate Bridge is completed. The bridge opened on May 27, 1937.
  • 1937, December 13 - January 1938; The Nanking Massacre was a mass murder (50,000-300,000 dead) and mass rape committed by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing (Nanking), then the capital of the Republic of China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. [Ref]
  • 1939 - 1945 World War II. [More Information]
  • 1945; United Nations Charter signed in San Francisco.
  • 1948; Oyama v. California, the Supreme Court struck down the Alien Land Laws as violations of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Evacuation Claims Act authorized payment to Japanese Americans who suffered economic loss during imprisonment: with the necessary proof, 10 cents was returned for every $1.00 lost.[Ref]
  • 1950 - 1953; The Korean War is fought in Korea.
  • 1952; Bakersfield hit by earthquake, caused over $50 million in property damage.
  • 1954; U.S. Supreme Court decides in Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka that "separate" schools cannot be "equal". This paved the way for desegregation and the civil rights movement.
  • 1962, June; Inmates Clarence Anglin, John Anglin, and Frank Morris broke out of the main prison building of the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary via an unused utility corridor. They departed Alcatraz Island aboard an improvised inflatable raft to an uncertain fate.[Ref]
  • 1969; Native Americans occupied Alcatraz Island.
  • 1978, November 27; San Francisco Mayor George Richard Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Bernard Milk shot and killed.
  • 1984; The 1984 Summer Olympics are held in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1989, October 17; The Loma Prieta earthquake, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, hits Bay Area.
  • 1992; California became first state to elect two women to U.S. Senate - Barbara Levy Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
  • 1997; Google is founded.[Ref]
  • 1998; California bans smoking in bars and restaurant.[Ref]


2000 - 2009



2010 - 2019


  • 2011; Jerry Brown sworn in as new governor, served as governor from 1975 to 1983.
  • 2011; Massive power cut caused blackouts in California, Arizona and Mexico, over 5 million people affected.
  • 2011; New law enacted allowing illegal immigrants to receive state aid for college.
  • 2011, October 5; Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, died.

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For more information about The History of California, visit the following sites:

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La Puente, CA Weather Information

Monthly average highs and low temperatures and the average amount of precipitation for La Puente, CA.
Data from Montebello Weather station, 8.67 miles from La Puente.

Month Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. Annual
Avg. High 69.7 ° 71.3 ° 72.6 ° 77.4 ° 79.2 ° 84.2 ° 88.9 ° 89.4 ° 87.5 ° 82.2 ° 75.2 ° 70.7 ° 79.0 °
Avg. Low 47.9 ° 48.7 ° 50.5 ° 53.1 ° 56.9 ° 60.9 ° 64.3 ° 65.4 ° 63.8 ° 58.4 ° 52.0 ° 47.3 ° 55.8 °
Mean 58.8 ° 60.0 ° 61.6 ° 65.3 ° 68.1 ° 72.6 ° 76.6 ° 77.4 ° 75.7 ° 70.3 ° 63.6 ° 59.0 ° 67.4 °
Avg. Prec. 3.86 in 3.95 in 3.30 in 0.85 in 0.33 in 0.12 in 0.01 in 0.23 in 0.32 in 0.53 in 1.33 in 2.15 in 16.98 in

The climate in La Puente, CA, is warm during summer when temperatures tend to be in the 70's and cool during winter when temperatures tend to be in the 50's. The yearly mean is 67.4° Fahrenheit.

The warmest month of the year is August with an average maximum temperature of 89.40° Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is December with an average minimum temperature of 47.30° Fahrenheit.

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with a difference that can reach 24° Fahrenheit, and moderate during winter with an average difference of 22° Fahrenheit.

Winter months tend to be wetter than summer months. The wettest month of the year is February with an average rainfall of 3.95 Inches. The annual average precipitation at La Puente is 16.98 Inches.[10]

Climate Classification:

The climate in La Puente, CA, is classified as hot-summer Mediterranean climate; (Csa) by the Köppen-Geiger system.

 Hot-summer Mediterranean climate; coldest month averaging above 0 °C (32 °F) (or −3 °C (27 °F)), at least one month's average temperature above 22 °C (71.6 °F), and at least four months averaging above 10 °C (50 °F). At least three times as much precipitation in the wettest month of winter as in the driest month of summer, and driest month of summer receives less than 30 mm (1.2 in). [Ref]

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Historical Weather data

CA Notable Severe Weather Events

" The principal source of precipitation in California is moisture laden marine air moving in from the Pacific Ocean. The storm systems that deliver the moisture generally originate in the Gulf of Alaska and occasionally in the eastern Pacific Ocean. A semi-permanent high-pressure system located off the State's coast tends to regulate the movement of Pacific storms and is a key feature of the atmospheric-circulation patterns that determine California's climate (Officials of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1974). The position of this high-pressure system affects the seasonal distribution of precipitation and the erratic multiyear periods of greater than normal or less than normal precipitation. The geographic distribution and intensity of precipitation are determined by the Pacific storm track in combination with the State's topography. "

" Precipitation is rare during the summer. The Pacific high pressure area off the northern California coast keeps storm tracks well to the north. Occasionally, moist air moves in from the subtropical Pacific Ocean during the summer and results in scattered thundershowers that are sometimes locally intense in the deserts and mountains. "

" Most precipitation in California is received during the storm season from November to March. In winter, the Pacific high-pressure system generally moves southward, allowing storms from the Gulf of Alaska to move across California. These storms commonly are a series of frontal systems 2 or 3 days apart. Because of the usual pattern of storm movement, precipitation quantities are generally greatest in the north and progressively less toward the south. Variations in the circulation pattern at times cause storms to approach California from the southwest, thus bringing warm, moist air from the tropics. On occasion, when this inflow of air from the southwest converges with a contrasting flow of cold air from the Arctic, the results are devastating. The floods of December 1955, December 1964, and February 1986 were caused by storms of this type. If the Pacific high-pressure system fails to move south during the winter, winter storms are blocked, are diverted to the north of California, or are severely weakened. A persistence of this condition leads to drought in the State (California Department of Water Resources, 1978). "

" Mountain ranges induce precipitation at the higher altitudes and create "rain shadows (dry areas)" in the leeward valleys and plains. In California, nearly continuous ranges of coastal mountains extend from the Oregon border to Mexico, and these ranges are paralleled by the southern Cascade Range and the Sierra Nevada roughly 150 miles inland (fig. 1). Between the two ranges lies the Central Valley, nearly 400 miles long and 70 miles wide. To the east of the southern Cascade Range, the Sierra Nevada, and the coastal mountains of southern California are the Basin and Range and the Southern California Desert provinces. "

" The higher mountain areas, principally the Sierra Nevada, receive much of the annual precipitation as snow, which accumulates during winter and melts in spring; this important feature of California's hydrology provides a natural reservoir to moderate the uneven seasonal distribution of precipitation. Storage in the form of snow commonly decreases the severity of peak flows, but it also has contributed to some of the State's worst floods when warm rains melted the snow. Unusually large snow packs, like those in 1969, have caused flooding as a result of the large volume of runoff during the spring snowmelt. " [Ref] pp 198

For more information about the climate:


Drought Severity Classification


Category Description Possible Impacts Palmer Drought Index CPC Soil
Moisture Model
USGS Weekly Streamflow
Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) Objective Short and Long-term Drought Indicator Blends (Percentiles)
D0 Abnormally
Going into drought: short-term dryness slowing planting, growth of crops or pastures. Coming out of drought: some lingering water deficits;  pastures or crops not fully recovered -1.0 to -1.9 21-30 21-30F -0.5 to -0.7 21-30
D1 Moderate Drought Some damage to crops, pastures; streams, reservoirs, or wells low, some water shortages developing or imminent; voluntary water-use restrictions requested -2.0 to -2.9 11-20 11-20 -0.8 to -1.2 11-20
D2 Severe
Crop or pasture losses likely;  water shortages common; water restrictions imposed -3.0 to -3.9 6-10 6-10 -1.3 to -1.5 6-10
D3 Extreme Drought Major crop/pasture losses;  widespread water shortages or restrictions -4.0 to -4.9 3-5 3-5 -1.6 to -1.9 3-5
D4 Exceptional Drought Exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses; shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells creating water emergencies -5.0 or less 0-2 0-2 -2.0 or less 0-2

"The droughts of 1928-37 and 1976-77 are the events to which other droughts commonly are compared. Both droughts were severe, and one or the other is cited by different sources as the worst in the State's recorded history. Because their durations were so different, comparisons between the two droughts are difficult, yet they illustrate the diversity of events characterized as droughts. The droughts of 1943-51 and 1959-62, although less severe, were relatively well defined and of statewide significance. The same is true of the current (1989) ongoing drought that began in 1987. [Ref]"

  • 1827-1916 Multiyear droughts occured between 1827-1829, 1843-1844, 1856-1857, 1863-1864 (particularly extreme), 1887-1888, 1897-1900, and 1912-1913.
  • 1917-1921; The draught of 1917-1921 was statewide, except central Sierra Nevada and north coast, with a recurrence interval that ranged from about 10 to 40 years, depending on location. The most severe was in northern western Calaforina.
  • 1922-26: Statewide, except central Sierra Nevada. Simultaneously in effect for entire State only during 1924, which was particularly severe.
  • 1928-37: Statewide >100 Simultaneously in effect for entire State, 1929-34. Longest, most severe in State's history.
  • 1943-51: Statewide Simultaneously in effect for entire State. 1947-49. Most extreme in south.
  • 1959-62: Statewide Most extreme in Sierra Nevada and central coast.
  • 1976-77: Statewide, with exception of southeastern deserts. >100 Driest 2 years in State's history. Most severe in northern two-thirds of State
  • 1987-92: Statewide Moderate, continuing through 1989. Most extreme in northern Sierra Nevada.
Primary Sourve:
National Water Summary 1988-89 / Hydrologic Events and Floods and Droughts p 197-206 [PDF]] <

For more information:


Enhanced Fujita Scale


The following statistics where compiled from "The Tornado Project" for the time period of 1952-11-14 - 2014-09-27.

Intensity Number Fatalities
F0 253 0
F1 96 0
F2 23 0
F3 2 0
F4 0 0
F5 0 0


Between 1952-11-14 - 2014-09-27 California has had 413 tornadoes, there is no record of any fatalities, 88 people have been injured. The greatest number of injuries occurred on March 1, 1983, when an EF 2 touchdown in Ladera Heights, near Inglewood, CA, at 9:40 am injuring 30. [Ref]

  • 1951-01-11; An F2 tornado in Santa Clara County caused $2.5 million in property damage. The length of the tornado's path was 5.7 miles. [Ref]
  • 1956-04-13; An F1 tornado in San Diego County injured one person and caused $25,000 in property damage. [Ref]
  • 1956-05-09; An F0 tornado in Los Angeles County injured one person and caused $25,000 in property damage. [Ref]
  • 1956-04-13; An F1 tornado in San Diego County injured three people and caused $25,000 in property damage. [Ref]
  • 1966-11-07; An F2 tornado in Compton, Los Angeles County, injured ten people and caused $250,000 in property damage. The length of the tornado's path was 10.3 miles. [Ref]
  • 1973-08-16; An F3 tornado in Riverside county caused $25,000 in property damage. [Ref]
  • 1974-07-20; An F1 tornado struck the Hemet airport in Riverside county. One person was injured by flying glass from a shattered window. Three small planes and 5 gliders were destroyed. Winds were estimated at 100 MPS and 2.9 inches of rain fell in 60 minutes. Property damage was $25,000. The length of the tornado's path was 1 mile.[Ref]
  • 1977-03-16; An F1 tornado in Orange County injured 4 people and caused $2.5 million in property damage. The length of the tornado's path was 10.9 miles. [Ref]
  • 1977-05-08; A tornado of unknown strength in Long Beach caused $2.5 million in damages.[Ref]
  • 1978-02-09; An F3 tornado in Orange County injured 6 people and caused $2.5 million in property damage. The length of the tornado's path was 2 miles. [Ref]
  • 1978-03-04; An F1 tornado near Hilmer in Merced County injured 1 person and caused $250,000 property damage. The length of the tornado's path was 1 mile.[Ref]
  • 1979-01-31; A tornado of unknown strength near Universal City caused $2.5 million in damages. [Ref]
  • 1980-01-14; An F1 tornado in Stanislaus County injured 1 person and caused $250,000 property damage.[Ref]
  • 1980-02-19; An unstable air mass over the San Joaquin Valley produced funnel clouds. An F1 tornado passed across the Fresno Yosemite Airport causing damage to the terminal building and a motel on the airport property. Two people were injured and there was $2.5 million in property damage. The length of the tornado's path was 1.7 miles.[Ref]
  • 1980-04-05; An F2 tornado strikes Hanford, Kings County injuring 1 person and caused $250,000 property damage. The length of the tornado's path was 8.9 miles. [Ref]
  • 1982-09-07; An F2 tornado strikes Landers, San Bernardino County injuring 2 people and caused $25,000 property damage.[Ref]
  • 1983-03-01; An F2 tornado occurs near the Convention Center in South Central Los Angeles. Thirty people were injured. Approximately 50 home and 7 business were damaged. Total damages were $25 million. The length of the tornado's path was 3.5 miles. [Ref]
  • 1983-10-01; An F1 tornado occurred in Hawthorne, California, injuring 3 people and caused $2,5,00 property damage. [Ref]
  • 1991-12-29; An F0 tornado occurred east of Lompoc, California, injuring 2 people and caused $250 property damage.[Ref]
  • 1992-12-06; Two F1 tornadoes moved across the Monterey peninsula, injuring 2 people and caused $25,000 property damage. A number of windows were blown in, lawn furniture and storage sheds were destroyed. The worst damage occurred at the Old Del' Monte Golf Course. [Ref]
  • 1992-12-17; An F1 tornado occurred in Oroville, California, injuring 4 people and caused $2.5 million in property damage. Fifty-three homes were damaged as well as the roofs of two apartments and the Butte County Administrative office. One woman was injured by flying glass and 2 women and a child were hurt when a tree fell on their car. [Ref]
  • 1993-01-17; An F0 tornado caused $5 million in property damage in Lake Forest, California. One person was injured and 31 homes were damaged. [Ref]
  • 1993-11-1; An F0 tornado caused $1,000 in property damages in Irvine, California. Two people were injured. The tornado overturned a mobile home.[Ref]
  • 1994-02-10; An F2 tornado formed behind a cold front and traveled through a housing subdivision in Oroville, California. Forty-seven homes were damaged, 1 home was destroyed while 25 others suffered major damage. Two people were injured and there was $5 million in property damage.[Ref]
  • 1998-05-05; An F2 tornado touched down in the Chevy Chase residential area of Sunnyvale, CA, near Hwy 85. Fifteen homes and one large church were damaged. One woman was injured by flying debris, and there was $3.8 million in property damage. The storm was well documented on a video shot by a person from their backyard. [Ref]
  • 2008-05-22; An EF2 tornado touched down on March Field at 4:42 PM, traveled approximately three miles in a west-southwest direction for 21 minutes, and had a max width of 75 yards. A driver of a semi-truck was injured when the truck was lifted 30 to 40 feet into the air. Nine empty BNSF railroad cars were derailed. There was $350,000 in property damage. This is the first EF-2 tornado in California since the new scale was implemented in February 2007, and the first F2 tornado in California since the 1998 Sunnyvale tornado.[Ref]
  • 2015-08-06; An EF1 tornado occurred near Mecca, California, in the southern Coachella Valley during the evening. This storm produced a copious amount of lightning and very strong, damaging winds. West of Highway 111 between 64th and 66th Avenues, paralleling Highway 86 towards the mountains, or approximately 3 1/2 miles, over 100 power poles were damaged or destroyed. Two people were injured and there was $18 million in property damage.[Ref]

For more information:

Hurricanes / Tropical cyclone


Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4 Category 5
Related classifications
Tropical storm Tropical depression
Rollover for details

  • 1854, After October: A system considered to be a tropical cyclone made landfall over northern California, just north of the Golden Gate.
  • 1858, October 2; The 1858 San Diego hurricane approached very close to southern California. It brought several hours of hurricane and gale-force winds to an area stretching from San Diego to Los Angeles. This storm was reconstructed as just missing making landfall, dissipating offshore.
  • 1858, Sometime before October 14; Since this tropical cyclone is reported in a newspaper as being only "one of the most terrific and violent hurricanes ever noted", the report may imply the existence of an earlier hurricane in southern California. Other than occurring before the newspaper account was published (October 18, 1858), everything else about this "hurricane", including whether it even existed, is unknown.
  • 1859, Before June or after October; A system considered to be a tropical cyclone made landfall between Cape Mendocino and San Francisco Bay.
  • 1873, August 11-12; Rain from a tropical storm fell on San Diego. The rain on August 12 set a record for wettest August day.
  • July 190220-21; The remnants of a hurricane brought rain to southern California.
  • 1906, August 18-19; A tropical cyclone moved northward from the Gulf of California, and brought rain to southern California.
  • 1910, September 15; The remnants of a hurricane brought rain to Santa Barbara County.
  • 1915, August 26; The remnants of a tropical cyclone brought around an inch of rain to Riverside, CA.
  • 1918, September 11-12, The remnants of a tropical cyclone produced six inches (150 mm) of rain to the mountains of southern California.
  • 1921, August 20-21; A tropical cyclone moved north from Baja California and into Arizona, producing rain in both southern California and Arizona.
  • 1921, September 30; The remnants of a tropical cyclone moved northward from Baja California, and brought rain to Arizona and parts of California.
  • 1929, September 18; A tropical cyclone in the Pacific Ocean dropped rain over southern California
  • 1932, September 27-29; A tropical cyclone which began south of Tehuantepec on September 25, caused destructive rains in the Tehachapi mountains of southern California. This cyclone remained 60 to 120 miles (100 to 200 km) offshore until it reached the head of the Sea of Cortez on the 29th and dissipated in the southwestern desert. 0n the last three days of September, Truxton, Arizona, had 2.27 inches of rain, Fort Mojave 2.32, and Payson 1.50 inches. In California, Tehachapi had 4.38 inches in 19 hours, but Los Angeles had only 0.14 and Santa Barbara 0.ll. [Ref p14]
  • 1932, September 28-October 1: The remnants of a hurricane brought four days of rain. Flash floods killed 15 people.
  • 1935, August 25: A tropical cyclone moved northward from the south, and brought rain to southern California and parts of Arizona.
  • 1936, August 9: A hurricane's remnants moved north and brought heavy rains to the Los Angeles area.
  • 1939, September 4-7: The remnants of a hurricane brought over a year's worth of rain to parts of southern California.
  • 1939, September 11-12: The remnants of a hurricane from the Gulf of California brought rain to parts of California.
  • 1939, September 19-21: The remnants of a tropical cyclone brought rain to California.
  • 1939, September 25: The 1939 California tropical storm made landfall near Long Beach. Winds were near 80 km/h (50 mph) and rain was near 12 inches (300 mm). At sea, 48 people were killed. On land, 45 were killed in flooding, although these deaths may be partially attributable to a nasty thunderstorm immediately preceding the tropical storm. This is the only known landfall in California by a tropical cyclone at tropical storm strength, during the twentieth century. [Ref]
  • 1941, September: Moisture from a hurricane brought rain to California.
  • 1945, September 9-10: The remnants of a tropical cyclone moved northward and brought rain to southern California.
  • 1946, September 30-October 1: The remnants of a tropical storm brought several inches of rain to California.
  • 1951, August 27-29: The remnants of a tropical cyclone brought enough rain to wash out some roads in southern California.
  • 1952, September 19-21: The remnants of a hurricane brought rain to mountains in southern California.
  • 1954, July 17-19: The remnants of a hurricane moved into Arizona, bringing rain to the state and parts of California.
  • 1958, October 1-6: The remnants of a hurricane moved into Arizona, causing heavy rain in that state and in parts of California.
  • 1959, September 11: The remnants of a hurricane generated some rain over California.
1960s 1970s
  • 1971, September 30-October 1: Atlantic Hurricane Irene crossed Central America and became Hurricane Olivia. Olivia eventually re-curved and made landfall in Baja California, with the remnants bringing rain to California.
  • 1972, September 3: Tropical Depression Hyacinth made landfall in California and produced rain in the area of Los Angeles.
  • 1972, October 6: Hurricane Joanne made landfall in Mexico and managed to bring gale-force winds and rain to Arizona, as well as California.
  • 1976, September 9-12: Hurricane Kathleen crossed the Baja California peninsula moved into California as a tropical storm. Yuma, Arizona, reported sustained winds of 57 mph (91 km/h). Rains from Kathleen caused catastrophic damage to Ocotillo, California, and killed three to six people.
  • 1977, August 18-19: Hurricane Doreen denegerated into a remnant low off the coast of California. The remnants moved inland and caused flooding and crop damage as 7.01 inches (178 mm) of rain fell on Yuma Valley, Arizona. Mount Laguna, California, recorded 4.9 inches of rain, Borrego Palm Canyon 4.5 inches, Palomar Mountain 4 inches and Lake Henshaw received 3.26 inches. There were four dead and $25 million in damage in Southern California. Debris flows and flooding from Henderson Canyon into Borrego Springs' DeAnza neighborhood, damaging 100 homes. Mud flows up to 5 feet deep. [Ref]
  • 1977, October 6-7: Hurricane Heather's remnants moved into Arizona, bringing 8.30 inches (211 mm) of rain to Nogales, Arizona, and up to 14 inches (360 mm) of rainfall to the adjacent mountains. The remnants also brought significant rainfall to southern California. This led to significant flooding in both states.
  • 1978, September 5-6: Hurricane Norman made landfall in California as a Tropical Depression. Its remnants produced several inches of rain, over 7.01 in (178 mm) of rain occurred in the Sierra Nevada range at Lodgepole in Sequoia National Park.span>[Ref]
  • 1980, June 29-30: Hurricane Celia's remnants produced a minor amount of rain over California.
  • 1982, September 17-18: Remnants from Hurricane Norman generated rain over Arizona and southern California.
  • 1982, September 24-26: The remnants of Hurricane Olivia produced over 7 inches (177 mm) of rain in California.
  • 1983, September 20-21: The remnants of Hurricane Manuel produced rain in California. [Ref]
  • 1983, October 7: The very weak remnants of Hurricane Priscilla caused showers in southern California.
  • 1984, September 10-11: Hurricane Marie's weak remnants generated showers over southern California.
  • 1987, September 22-23: The remnants of Hurricane Norma generated thunderstorms over southern California, which caused some flooding.
  • 1989, October 5-12: Weather associated with Hurricane Ramon caused moderate to heavy rain in southern California. The highest amount noted was 2.14 inches (54 mm) at Camp Pendleton.
  • 1989, September: Hurricane Octave's remnants brought rain to California, doing minimal damage.
  • 1990, June: The remnants of Hurricane Boris briefly caused heavy rainfall in southern California. This was one of the reasons why it was the wettest June in San Diego, since record-keeping began in 1850. Despite this, less than an inch (25 mm) of rain fell in most locations.
  • 1992, July: The remnants of Hurricane Darby caused cloudiness in California. These clouds were also enough to delay the landing of the Space Shuttle Columbia for a day, and cause it to land in Florida instead of California.
  • 1992, August: Hurricane Lester's remnants caused rain in extreme southern California.
  • 1997, August 5: Surf from Hurricane Guillermo caused rip currents near Corona Del Mar, Newport_Beach, injuring three people and killing one.
  • 1997, August 19-20: Tropical Storm Ignacio's remnants produced gusty winds over the outer waters of California, and passed directly over the San Francisco Bay Area, before moving across the interior of the Pacific Northwest. Sporadic moderate to heavy rainfall was recorded in both California and the states of the Pacific Northwest.
  • 1997, September 13-14: Hurricane Linda was at one point forecast to make landfall in southern California. Instead, it moved out to sea, although large waves caused by Linda did wash five people off a jetty in Newport Beach. Also, Linda's outer rainbands generated thunderstorms over southern California, causing flash floods in some regions.
  • 1997, September 25-26: After making landfall in Baja California, Hurricane Nora maintained tropical storm status into California and Arizona. Moderate to heavy rains fell across southeast California and Arizona, with a new 24-hour maximum for Arizona 12 inches (305 mm) falling in the Mogollon Rim. Damage totaled several hundred million, including $40 million (1997 USD) to lemon trees. There were a few indirect deaths caused by the hurricane.
  • 2001, September: Remnant moisture from Hurricane Flossie caused thunderstorms, lightning, and floods in southern California. Lightning struck four people, killing two of them.
  • 2001, September 30: Thunderstorms from the remnants of Hurricane Juliette caused minor damage to California and brought rain of less than an inch (25 mm) to the area.
  • 2003, August: Remnants of Hurricane Ignacio produced powerful thunderstorms in southern California.
  • 2003, September: Remnants of Hurricane Marty dropped large amounts of rainfall, in the southwestern United States, especially in southern California and southwestern Arizona.
  • 2006, July: Remnants of Tropical Storm Emilia caused unsettled weather across the southwestern United States. Rain from the remnants helped to extinguish the Horse Fire in southern California.
  • 2006, September: Remnants of Hurricane John triggered flash flood watches.
  • 2007, August 26-27: Remnants of Hurricane Dean made landfall in Santa Barbara area, triggering heavy rains and minor flooding throughout the southern California Area. Early on August 27, the storm eventually reached Las Vegas, Nevada, and caused flash flooding there as well, before dissipating there later in the day.
  • 2008, August 25: Remnants of Tropical Storm Julio reached Apple Valley, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • 2009, August 27-29: Remnants of Tropical Storm Ignacio triggered heavy rains across northern and central California.
  • 2009, September 4: Remnants of Hurricane Jimena caused severe thunderstorms to break out in eastern San Diego County, causing flash floods, and a short blackout that lasted for only a few hours.
  • 2009, October 11-15: The remnants of Typhoon Melor affected California and broke several rainfall records.
  • 2012, July 18-20: Associated moisture and clouds from the remnants of Hurricane Fabio generated scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms across the Los Angeles Basin.
  • 2012, September 6-7: Moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm John brought scattered showers and thunderstorms to California.
  • 2013, August 25-26: Moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ivo caused some thunderstorms and flooding in southern California.
  • 2013, September 3: Moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Kiko fueled a monsoon across the Southwestern United States, producing scattered showers and thunderstorms across the region.
  • 2014, August 26-29: Large swells from Hurricane Marie caused high waves and rip currents.
  • 2014, September 8: The remnants of Hurricane Norbert caused thunderstorms and flooding in Southern California.
  • 2014, September 16-17: Hurricane Odile's outer rainbands brought thunderstorms to parts of Southern California, as a tropical storm. Hurricane Odile also caused damage across central and eastern San Diego County on September 16, 2014, generating high winds and several uncharacteristically powerful thunderstorms in the region. Wind gusts over 23.01 mph (20 knots) reportedly uprooting trees, felled branches, cut power lines, crushed several cars, and flipped at least one airplane at Montgomery Field Airport. Dry lightning generated by a line of severe thunderstorms in one of the rainbands set fire to a palm tree in San Diego and storm force wind gusts within those severe thunderstorms left 6,000 customers without power.
  • 2014, October 6-7: Hurricane Simon's outer rainbands bring scattered thunderstorms and flash floods to parts of Southern California as a tropical storm, and later as a tropical depression, with a brief rain shower in San Diego County on October 7.
  • 2015, June 9-10: A low pressure system containing the remnants of Hurricane Blanca brought showers to Southern California on June 9. Some flooding was reported in Santa Barbara County. On June 10, the low pressure system moved north to the San Francisco Bay Area and brought scattered showers there as well. Many rainfall records were broken.
  • 2015, July 18-20: The remnants of Hurricane Dolores brought scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout Southern California, breaking many rainfall records and causing flooding. One such flash flood caused a bridge to collapse which shut down Interstate 10 between Indio and Blythe, effectively shutting off the primary Phoenix-to-Los-Angeles route. The good news was that the rain helped firefighters contain the North Fire within 3 days.
  • 2015, August 6: Hurricane Guillermo interacted with a longwave trough in the subtropical jet to its northeast to spawn a rare dry-season atmospheric river, which went on to send moisture toward the San Francisco Bay Area, bringing a rare lightning storm to that area that night. Since the storm was dry and hardly brought any rain, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Red Flag Warning for that area.
  • 2015, September 8-15: The remnants of Hurricane Linda brought localized downpours from Santa Barbara to San Diego, California. On September 15, Los Angeles received 2.39 inches of rain, making it one of the wettest September days since records dating back to 1877, second only to 1939.
  • 2017, September 3-4: On September 3, moisture from Tropical Storm Lidia's remnant low brought flash flooding and thunderstorms to Southern California. Lidia's remnants also triggered a microburst event in Santa Barbara.

For more information:


USGC - Flood Mark

"Flooding is limited generally to the winter storm season, except in the southern deserts, where summer thunderstorms occasionally produce localized floods. Because of the size of California, storms and floods seldom occur statewide. The floods of December 1861 to January 1862 were an exception. [Ref]" Geologic evidence indicates that massive floods, caused by rainfall, have occurred in California every 100 to 200 years.  [Ref]

  • 1825: The Los Angeles flood of 1825 changed the course of the Los Angeles River from its western outlet into Santa Monica Bay to a new course that follows the Ballona Creek to a southern outlet at San Pedro Bay near where it is today. [Ref]
  • 1850. January: Sacramento, California, was devastated by a major flood when heavy storms saturated the grounds upon which the city is built. The American and Sacramento rivers crested simultaneously. [Ref]
  • 1861, Dec. - Jan 1862: The Great Flood of 1862 also termed the "Noachian Deluge of California". It rained 30 days in succession. The great flood of 1862 primarily affected Oregon, Nevada, and California. It was the largest flood in the recorded history of the area. It occurred when a series of monstrous Pacific storms slammed into the West coast of North America, from Mexico to Canada. "The storms produced the most violent flooding residents had ever seen, before or since." Water covered farmlands and towns. In some places the water reached depths up to 30 feet, completely submerging telegraph poles. The floods drowned people, horses and cattle, and washed away houses, buildings, barns, fences and bridges. Drowning deaths occurred every day on the Feather, Yuba and American rivers. In one tragic account, an entire settlement of Chinese miners was drowned along the Yuba River. [Ref 1] [Ref 2] [Ref 3]
  • 1867, Dec: Torrential rains in the San Bernardino Mountains caused the Lytle Creek and Cajon Creek to unite and form a river 180 feet wide in places, and 15 to 20 feet deep. Warm Creek and City Creek united resulting in a stream half a mile wide. Farm land, orchards, vineyards and buildings were destroyed.[Ref 1] [Ref 2]
  • 1884 Feb: San Diego received 25.97 inches (659.64 mm) of rain during the 1883-84 season. In February 1884, 9.05 inches (229.87 mm) fell in San Diego, and by March 10th, the San Diego River was “booming” through Mission Valley. Between February 14 and 20, 5+ inches (127 mm) of rain fell in Spring Valley, CA, (now Valley Spring), flooding damaged crops, livestock and railroads. Flooding also occurred in Temecula Canyon. The Santa Ana River cut a new channel to the sea three miles southeast. [Ref 1] [Ref 2]
  • 1895, Jan: A major flood in some portions of California. The recurrence interval is unknown. [Ref 1] [Ref 2]

1900 - 1929

  • 1906, March: On March 16-20, Floodwaters reached a maximum depth of four feet in parts of Visalia, CA. During the same month, the flow at the terminus of the Kaweah River was measured at 8,861 cubic feet per second (CFS). [Ref 1] [Ref 2]
  • 1906, August: A tropical storm in late 1906 reported the highest ever rainfalls in a southeast to northwest direction from Monterey to Ione, California, in the Sierra Nevada foothills. An area of 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) was flooded in the Sacramento Valley. [Ref]
  • 1907, March 16: A major flood occurred in some portions of California. The recurrence interval is unknown.[Ref] The flooding of all major rivers in the Sacramento Valley led to changes in how engineers looked at California's flood control system. The system had been based on a Midwestern strategy of confining floodwaters between levees. The idea of using bypasses and overflow weirs, dam-like structures designed to change a river´s flow, had previously been rejected.[Ref]
  • 1909, Jan: The Feather River basin had 57.4 inches (1,458 mm) of rain in 20 days. San Bernardino received 4.53 inches (115.062 mm) between on January 21-22. Lytle Creek, Waterman Canyon and the Santa Ana River all flooded. The Railroad was damaged at Mill Creek and Colton creek.[Ref 1] [Ref 2]
  • 1916, Jan: During early 1916, heavy rains caused floods throughout Southern California, virtually cutting off San Diego County from the rest of the state for the greater part of a month. Due to the floods 28 people died and about ten million dollars in damages were caused, with the greatest losses occurring in San Diego County, where twenty-two people died mostly in Otay River valley when the Lower Otay Dam failed, releasing the contents of the Lower Otay Reservoir. "One report stated that twenty-five Japanese, including men, women and children, were killed when the dam broke, releasing a wall of water thirty feet high.[Ref 1]" Another estimate was that fifty lives were lost in San Diego County. San Diego residents blamed the floods on Charles Hatfield who was hired by the city of San Diego to create rain. [Ref 1][Ref 2]


  • 1933, December - 1934 January: A major storm occurred in southern California. Los Angeles recorded 7.36 inches (186.944 mm) in 24 hours with a rainfall total of 8.26 inches (209.804 mm) during these storms. The highest rainfall total was reported in Azusa, CA, at 16.29 inches (413.77 mm). Daily totals across the area were 6.21 inches (157.734 mm) at Fullerton, 6.90 (175.26 mm) at Placentia, 5.16 inches (131.06 mm) at Yorba Linda, 4.69 inches (119.126 mm) at Buena Park, 5.04 inches (128.016 mm) at Anaheim, 5.38 inches (136.65 mm) at Orange and 4.81 inches (122.17 mm) at Garden Grove. Walls of water and debris up to 10 feet (3.05 meters) high were noted in some canyon areas. There were 45 deaths in Southern California due to the floods.[Ref]
  • 1937, Feb: 4–7; The highest four-day rainfall totals were recorded at several stations in the Santa Ana River basin during this four day storm. The Riverside, CA north station recorded over 7.9 inches (200 mm) of rain which equaled a 450-year event. [Ref]
  • 1937, Dec: The storm of December 1937 occurred in the higher elevations in the northeast corner of California. [Ref]
  • 1938, Feb-Mar: Also known as the Los Angeles flood of 1825 . On March 2, 1938, with the southern California terrain already saturated, a massive, slow-moving warm front collided with the west trending mountains of the Transverse Range and resulted in near-record rainfall. Rainfall in this mountain area from February 27 to March 4 averaged 22.5 inches (571.5 mm). The greatest rainfall recorded was 32.2 inches (817.88 mm) at an altitude of 8,300 feet. Floods occurred from San Luis Obispo to San Diego and inland as far as the Mojave Desert. Runoff was greatest in the Santa Ana, San Gabriel, and Los Angeles River basins and parts of the Santa Clara River basin. Peak flows in much of the area probably were the greatest since the 1861-62 floods. Eighty-seven (87) lives were lost, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated the damage at about $79 million. [Ref 1] [Ref 2]
  • 1939, Sept. 25: The 1939 California tropical storm made landfall near Long Beach. Winds were near 80 km/h (50 mph) and rain was near 12 inches (300 mm). The remnants of the hurricane tracked northeastward across northern Baja California into southwest Arizona generating rainfall of up to 7 inches (177.8 mm) on the mountains and deserts.[Ref p 13] Forty-five (45) people were killed in flooding, although these deaths may be partially attributable to a nasty thunderstorm immediately preceding the tropical storm. This is the only known landfall in California by a tropical cyclone at tropical storm strength, during the twentieth century. [Ref]


  • 1950, Nov - Dec: The area from the Kern River basin north to the American River basin, in California, was impacted by flood waters. The recurrence interval was in the 25 to 80 year range. There were 2 deaths and damages were estimated to be $33 million.[Ref]
  • 1955, Dec. 24; More than 3,000 homes were flooded and 12,000 people were evacuation from Yuba City, CA, when a levee failed on the Feather River. There were 38 fatalities, and 95% of Yuba City was inundated with floodwater as much as 12-feet deep. About 382,000 acres of the Sacramento River basin were flooded.[Ref]


  • 1962, Oct: The extratropical remains of Typhoon Freda made landfall in the Pacific Northwest of Canada & the United States on October 12, 1962. Called the Columbus Day storm, the system brought high winds and record breaking rains to the Northwest.[Ref] In California, rains fell from Oakland to Alturas and set a three-day rainfall record for Lake Spaulding of 23.05 inches (585.5 mm). Also in California, one hundred seventy-four (174) gage stations recorded their highest three-day rainfall totals to that time. The storm caused $4 million in damages in California.[Ref]
  • 1964, Jan. 21-22; A strong winter storm dropped 1.5 inches (38.1 mm) of rain on San Bernardino and Redlands. Up to 5 inches (127 mm) of rain was reported at Lake Arrowhead. A road was damaged by a flash flood in Upland, CA. [Ref p 24]
  • 1964, March 27; A tsunami caused by the magnitude 9.2 Good Friday [Ref] earthquake completely devastated the downtown district of Crescent City on the North Coast of California. There were 11 deaths and an economic loss of $14 million in Del Norte County alone. It was by far the worst damage done to any town in the contiguous United States by a tsunami. Substantial damage and numerous deaths also occurred in the towns of Valdez, Whittier, Chenega, Seward, Kodiak, Kalsin Bay and Kaguyak, Alaska, and Port Albini, British Columbia. Four children were swept to their deaths from a beach near Newport, Oregon, and lesser damage occurred all along the coast as far south as San Diego. [Ref]
  • 1964, Dec - Jan. 1965: The floods of December 1964 resulted from meteorological conditions similar to those of the December 1955 floods. An arctic air mass moved into northern California on December 14, 1964, and precipitation on December 18-20 produced large quantities of snow. Beginning on December 20, a storm track 500 miles wide extended from Hawaii to Oregon and northern California. Warm, moist air collided with the arctic air and resulted in turbulent storms that produced unprecedented rainfall on northern California and melted much of the snow from the previous storms. In the Mattole River basin, nearly 50 inches (1270 mm) of rain was reported during December 19-23, with 15 inches (381 mm) observed in 24 hours. The 20-25 inches of rain occurred between December 19 and December 23. The peak discharge of the Salmon River at Somes Bar had a recurrence interval that exceeded 100 years. Several towns along the Eel and Klamath Rivers were totally destroyed. Twenty-four (24) lives were lost in north-coastal California, and flood damage was about $195 million which was 4.5 times the loss in the same region caused by the December 1955 floods. Total damage for the State was estimated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at $239 million. [Ref 1] [Ref 2]
  • 1966, Dec: Flooding occurred along the Kern, Tule, and Kaweah River basins. The flooding caused 3 deaths, and flood damage was about $18 million. This event had a greater than 100 year recurrence interval. [Ref]
  • 1969, Jan - Feb: Flooding occurred along the southern and central coast of California and parts of the Mojave Desert. There were 60 deaths, and $400 million in damages. This event had a 30 to 60 year recurrence interval.[Ref]


  • 1976, Sept 9-12: Hurricane Kathleen crossed the Baja California peninsula and moved into California as a tropical storm. Yuma, Arizona reported sustained winds of 57 mph (91 km/h).[Ref] California received record rainfall, with 14.76 in (37.5 cm) falling on the southern slopes of Mount San Gorgonio, and 10.13 in (25.7 cm) accumulated on Mount Laguna. Ocotillo, CA, was flooded with 4 (1.2 m) to 6 feet (1.8 m) of water; [Ref] subsequently, half the town was destroyed. [Ref] Six people drowned in the mud and waters in the town and two people were initially reported missing, though they were later found by officials. [Ref] Record flood stage was attained at numerous streams near the Coachella Valley. Widespread property damage was recorded on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada as well as the nearby desert. Tropical Storm Kathleen was described as a one-in-160-year event. [Ref] Total damage was $160 million, making Kathleen one of the costliest tropical storms in California's history. [Ref] Parts of California were declared a disaster area. [Ref]
  • 1977, Aug. 15-17: Hurricane Doreen tracked north northwestward along the west coast of Baja California, dissipating over the coastal waters. Most areas received at least 2 inches (50.8 mm) of rainfall with up to 8 inches (203.2 mm) in the mountains. Heavy rainfall included 4.9 inches (124.46 mm) in Mt. Laguna , 4.5 (114.3 mm) inches in Borrego Palm Canyon, 4.0 inches (101.6 mm) in Palomar Mountain and Lake Henshaw, 3.26 inches (82.8 mm) in Borrego Springs (2.53 inches (64.26 mm) in 6 hours on Aug 16th, a 100 year event). On Aug. 17, 2.06 inches (52.324 mm) fell in Los Angeles, the wettest August day in the history of the city. The estimated damage from this storm totaled $25 million in Southern California and killed four. [Ref]

  • 1980, Jan - Feb: Flooding occurred in central and southern coastal California; the most severe flood was in southern California. [Ref]Between Feb. 13 and 21, six storms hit Southern California. Mount Wilson received 31.69 inches (804.93 mm), 25.56 inches (649.224 mm) fell at Palomar Mountain, 24.34 inches (618.24 mm) in Cuyamaca, 20.65 inches (524.5 mm) in Julian, 18.27 inches (464.06 mm) in Mt. Laguna, 12.88 inches (327.15 mm) in Ramona, and 12.75 inches (323.85 mm) in Los Angeles. Thirty (30) people were killed in widespread floods and mud slides. Post-fire flooding overwhelmed a basin below Harrison Canyon in north San Bernardino four times. [Ref] This was a 10 to 50 year event with damage totaling $350 million [Ref]
  • 1982, Jan: Flooding occurred in the San Francisco Bay Area. Several mudslides occurred in the mountains north of Santa Cruz. These floods had a recurrence interval of 30 years. The California flood resulted in 31 deaths and $75 million in damages.[Ref]
  • 1983; The 1982–1983 "rain year" was the wettest on record in most of north and central California, and was the wettest since 1937–1938 in the few areas where previous records were not surpassed. Levees burst along the Sacramento River and Sierra Nevada, flooding farmland in the Central Valley and several communities including Tehama, and high water also threatened the dikes in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. Significant flooding also occurred on the usually dry Tulare basin north of Bakersfield, where over 28,000 acres (11,331 hectares) were inundated. As much as $850 million of damages were recorded in California, amounting to more than $1.93 billion in 2012 dollars.[Ref]
  • 1986, Feb 11: A vigorous low pressure system drifted east out of the Pacific, creating a pineapple express that lasted through February 24 unleashing unprecedented amounts of rain on northern California and western Nevada. The nine-day storm constituted half of the average annual rainfall for the year over California. Extensive flooding occurred along the Napa and Russian rivers. The Napa River, north of San Francisco, recorded its worst flood to this time while nearby Calistoga recorded 29 inches (736 mm) of rain in 10 days, creating a once-in-a-thousand-year rainfall event. Records for 24 hour rain events were reported in the Central Valley and in the Sierra Nevada. One thousand-year rainfalls were recorded in the Sierras. The heaviest 24-hour rainfall ever recorded in the Central Valley at 17.6 inches (447 mm) occurred on February 17 at Four Trees in the Sierra Nevada basin. In Sacramento, California,, nearly 10.0 inches (254 mm) of rain fell in an 11-day period. System breaks in the Sacramento river basin included disastrous levee breaks in the Olivehurst and Linda area on the Sierra Nevada. Linda, about 40 miles (65 km) north of Sacramento, California,, was devastated after the levee broke on the Yuba's south fork, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate. In the San Joaquin River basin and the Delta, levees breaking along the Mokelumne River caused flooding in the community of Thornton and the inundation of four Delta islands. Lake Tahoe rose 5.9 inches (149.86 mm) as a result of high inflow. The California flood resulted in 13 deaths, 50,000 people were evacuated and there was over $400 million in property damage. Three thousand residents of Linda joined in a class action lawsuit, Paterno v. State of California, which eventually reached the California Supreme Court in 2004. The California high court affirmed the District Court of Appeal's decision that said California was liable for millions of dollars in damages.  [Ref 1] [Ref 2]


  • 1995: During the 1995 El Niño winter, over 100 reporting stations recorded their greatest 1-day rainfalls in that station's history. The major brunt of the January storms hit the Sacramento river basin and resulted in small stream flooding primarily due to storm drainage system failures, though flooding affected nearly every part of the state. On March 12th, the Salinas River exceeded its previous measured record crest by more than 4.3 feet (1.3 meters), which was within 11.8 to 23.62 inches (30-60 cm) of the reputed crest of the legendary 1862 flood. Floods on the Pajaro and Salinas Rivers on March 12th were so severe that they cut off access to the Monterey Peninsula. The Napa River set a new peak record, and the Russian and Pajaro rivers approached their record peaks. More than 70% of California’s counties were declared disaster areas. More than thirty people were killed and 5 were missing. The flood cost $1.8 billion.[Ref 1] [Ref 2]
  • 1996, Dec - 1997, Jan: From late December 1996 to early January 1997, a series of tropical storms collectively called a pineapple connection, hit northern California. [Ref 2] December 1996 was one of the wettest Decembers on record.[Ref 2] The Klamath River on California's North Coast experienced significant flooding which led to the river permanently changing course in some areas.[Ref] The Klamath National Forest experienced its worst flood since 1974.[Ref] On Jan. 1, 1997, Klamath, California, received 6.09 inches (154.69 mm) of rain. [Ref 5] Unprecedented flows from rain surged into the Sierra Nevada basin while melted snow surged into the San Joaquin River basin.[Ref] Rain fell at elevations up to 10,800 feet (3,300 meters), prompting snow melt.[Ref] The Cosumnes River, a tributary to the San Joaquin River, bore the brunt of the flooding.[Ref] Sacramento, California, was spared, though levee failures flooded Olivehurst, Arboga, Wilton, Manteca, and Modesto. Massive landslides in the Eldorado National Forest east of Sacramento, California, closed U.S. Route 50.[Ref 3] Damages totaled US $35 million (1997 dollars).[Ref] Watersheds in the Sierra Nevada were already saturated by the time three subtropical storms added more than 30 inches (760 mm) of rain in late December 1996 and early January 1997.[Ref 2] Levee failures due to breaks or overtopping in the Sacramento river basin resulted in extensive damages.[Ref 2] In the San Joaquin River basin, dozens of levees failed throughout the river system and produced widespread flooding.[Ref 2] The Sacramento - San Joaquin River Delta also experienced several levee breaks and levee overtopping.[Ref 2] Forty-eight (48) counties were declared disaster areas, including all 46 counties in northern California.[Ref 2] Over 23,000 homes and businesses, agricultural lands, bridges, roads and flood management infrastructures, valued at about $2 billion, were damaged. Nine (9) people were killed and 120,000 people were evacuated from their homes.[Ref 2] Three hundred square miles were flooded, including the Yosemite Valley, which flooded for the first time since 1861-62.[Ref 2] [Ref 1]
  • 1997, January 1-3: Widespread flooding of streams, creeks and rivers caused extensive damage. The hardest hit towns were Klamath and Stafford. Klamath was flooded by the Klamath River which crested 11.22 feet above flood stage. Stafford was virtually wiped out by a mudslide. Other major rivers that flooded and their crests were: the Eel River near Scotia (3.97 feet above flood stage), Eel River at Fernbridge (5.22 feet above flood stage), Eel River at Miranda (0.64 feet above flood stage), Mad River at Arcata (3.46 above flood stage) and the Van Duzen River near Bridgeville (0.91 above flood stage). Numerous road closures occurred due to flooding and mudslides. The Northwest Pacific Railway was closed due to extensive damage to sections of track. There was $30.3 Million in property damages.[Ref]
  • 1997, Sept. 3-14, Hurricane Linda was at one point forecast to make landfall in southern California. Instead, it moved out to sea, although large waves caused by Linda did wash five people off a jetty in Newport Beach. Linda's outer rain bands generated thunderstorms over southern California causing flash floods in some regions. Hurricane Linda became the strongest storm recorded in the eastern Pacific with winds estimated at 180 mph and gusts to 218 mph. Disastrous flooding and debris flows at Forest Falls caused $3.2 million damage, destroyed 2 houses and damaged 77 others. The flooding moved car-size boulders and caused a wall of mud 150 feet wide and 15 feet tall. Flooding damage also occurred at Oak Glen.[Ref]
  • 1997, Nov. 26-27: A strong Pacific storm brought heavy rain, thunderstorms and snow to Southern California. With this storm, snow levels dropped to around 5000 feet. Snow accumulations up to 6 inches were reported in the mountains. At lower elevations, heavy rain and small hail fell. Rainfall totals ranged from 0.50 to 1.50 inches across the coast with up to 4.00 inches in the mountains. The heavy rain produced numerous street flooding. In Alhambra, 5 high school students were swept down a wash by storm runoff. Three students died while two others survived.[Ref]
  • 1998, April 1: Between March 28 to April 1, 1998, flooding was experienced by the Tulare County communities of Lindsay, Strathmore, and Tonyville. Flooding from locally heavy and persistent winter rains provided excessive runoff for Lewis and Frazier Creeks causing damage to these communities at the interface of the Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern Sierra Nevada foothills. Lewis Creek jumped out of its banks Wednesday morning, April 1, 1998, impacting and damaging about 32 homes around the creek in northeast Lindsay. Unofficial reports totaled 5.7 inches (144.78 mm) of rain in the week prior to the flooding. There was $262,000 in property damages and $540,000 damages done to crops.[Ref]


  • 2002, December 12: Almost 2 inches (50.8 mm) of rain fell in a two hour period, causing low lying roads and most creeks to flood. In Carlsbad, California, 5 women tried to cross a flooded bridge in a car, which stalled midway then floated downstream and overturned. Two women escaped, the other three drowned. Mudslides closed roads in Fallbrook and Lakeside. The Pacific Coast Highway was flooded in Huntington Beach for three hours. Many roads along the south slopes and foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains were closed for most of the afternoon and evening due to flooding and mudslides. In Riverside County, the worst flooding of roads occurred between Murrieta and Sun City. Property damages totaled $860,000.[Ref]
  • 2006, January 1: On December 31, 2005, severe Flooding occurred as the Napa River exceeded flood stage at both St. Helena and in the City of Napa. Major flooding continued into the early hours of January 1st, before the Napa River finally fell below flood stage and the water receded. Flooding was severe in Downtown Napa from the Napa Creek and the City and Parks Department was hit with $6 million in damage alone. The City of Napa had 600 homes with moderate damage, 150 damaged businesses with costs of at least $70 million. Total damages were $115 Million to property and $32.5 million to crops.[Ref]


  • 2010, December 19-22: A large Pacific plume of moisture ahead of an advancing trough of low pressure brought heavy rain and periods of serious flooding for nearly a week. The plume of moisture responsible was a form of an Atmospheric River. The mountain areas, particularly the San Bernardino range, experienced record large rainfall totals and many areas of flash flooding, debris flows and mud slides. Most rivers in the county warning area reached flood stage. San Bernardino County was the hardest hit county in California in terms of amount of damage due to the heavy rain at the end of December. County officials put the total damage amount (including public and private property of all types and labor to repair damage) at approximately $97 million. Both state and federal money was available to help those affected. Highway 395 at Highway 18 completely flooded with several stalled vehicles. Eastbound Highway 138 just west of Los Angeles County line had mud, debris and water across all lanes. Highway 18, west of Sheep Creek road, was closed, as well as Koala Road between Rancho and El Mirage, due to flooding. President Obama proclaimed a Federal disaster declaration for 10 counties in California.[Ref]
  • 2014: August 25-28: Large swells from Hurricane Marie caused high waves and rip currents.[Ref] A large southerly swell around 10 feet, generated by Hurricane Marie, moved through the coastal waters from the 25th through the 28th. This swell resulted in very large surf and dangerous rip currents during this time. Coastal flooding due to the high surf was observed at Seal Beach on the 26th, and reached into some homes, specifically along East Seal Way, where many homes experienced a few inches to 1 foot of water rushing into them after 12 to 14 foot waves cleared the 2 and a half foot protective sea wall. Surf heights from 15 to 18 feet were reported near Newport Beach and northward to Huntington Beach. "The Wedge" at Newport Beach had sets of waves 25 to 30 feet high. [Ref]
  • 2017, February 12-13: Heavy rain brought widespread flooding of small streams and rivers, with some flooding of main stem rivers. Wet conditions from previous storms brought saturated ground and elevated reservoirs, with flood control releases. Reduced releases at Oroville Dam resulted in the use of the emergency spillway for the first time in the dam's history. A portion of the emergency spillway began to show signs of failure which resulted in NWS Sacramento to issue a flash flood warning for potential dam failure and the Oroville Sheriff to issue mandatory large scale evacuations. The emergency spillway was utilized because the main spillway had damage that required reduced flows through it. Several levee breaks also brought local evacuations. There was also mountain snow many feet deep, and damaging winds, with numerous trees down on roads, vehicles, and homes. Many roads, including major highways such as Interstate 80, were shut down due to mudslides, heavy snow, flooding, washouts or avalanche suppression. Other significant impacts included numerous accidents due to slippery roads. A mass evacuation of over 180,000 people located downstream of Oroville Dam was ordered for a possible flash flood, due to the projected near failure of the emergency spillway. The emergency spillway was used when the main spillway was discovered to have suffered severe erosion during releases back on and around February 7th. Releases from Lake Oroville had been increased due to rising lake levels due to inflow from heavy rains. A Presidential disaster declaration, made by President Trump, provided $274 million for emergency response costs from Feb. 7 though the end of May. The money targeted stabilizing the emergency and main spillways, as well as debris removal and work on the downed Hyatt Power plant. A bid for long term repairs to the spillway was accepted at $275 million. Together, these total $549 million, though final costs could be much higher.[Ref]

For more information:

Winter Storms


Regional snowfall index (RSI)[Ref-1] [Ref-2]

Category RSI Value Description
1 1—2.999 Notable
2 3—5.99 Significant
3 6—9.99 Major
4 10—17.99 Crippling
5 18.0+ Extreme


  • 1996, Dec 22: A cold front sweeping through the San Bernardino and Riverside Mountains generated strong winds and heavy, wet snow in elevations above 6000 feet. Snow began falling during the early morning hours of the 22nd, and increased in intensity, along with the winds, until blizzard conditions were reported shortly after 7:00 AM. In the Big Bear Valley, 40 to 50 mph winds combined with heavy snow to snap trees and power lines, and cause severe visibility restrictions for several hours. By the early afternoon, the storm had diminished, leaving up to one half foot of snow in some areas. [Ref]
  • 1997, Jan. 7-18: Persistent northerly flow and low pressure aloft along the west coast, resulted in a prolonged period of cold and snow for the San Diego Mountains. Up to 18 inches of snow was reported over the higher elevations of the Laguna Mountains, with temperatures dipping into the upper teens and twenties at night. Undocumented immigrants were caught unprepared for the harsh conditions, resulting in a rash of fatalities due to hypothermia. One man died on the seventh, while clinging to a tree in the Tijuana River. Another was found on the Campo Indian Reservation on the tenth. Four more bodies were recovered near Pine Valley on the thirteenth and fourteenth. Elsewhere, a women in her late twenties died in rural Campo, and a 21 year old man died near Jamul. On January 16, four more undocumented immigrants died of exposure crossing the Laguna Mountains. Finally, on the seventeenth and eighteenth, a young male body was found in an open area near Campo and another was recovered near Potrero.[Ref]
  • 2000, March 5-6: A winter storm started out on the evening of Saturday, March 4 with heavy wet snow at the higher elevations and heavy rain and flooding at the lower elevations. Sustained 40 knot winds overnight caused heavy surf and several boats to lose their anchorage. On Sunday, March 5, strong winds continued to cause damage to trees and power lines. Participants in outdoor athletic events Sunday morning, March 5, developed hypothermia. Later outdoor events were cancelled. As reinforcing cold air arrived Sunday night, snow began at dramatically lower elevations, trapping at least 30 people in the wilderness areas of the San Diego Mountains, closing highways and freeways with seven inches of snow in the passes. Three people died and another thirteen were hospitalized for hypothermia. At the 6500 foot level, seventeen inches of snow fell in less than 24 hours. Blizzard conditions were reported throughout the Southwest California Mountains. The storm caused an estimate $50,000 in property damage.[Ref]
  • 2001, Feb. 13-14: A winter storm that took two days to cross Southwest California created near blizzard conditions in the mountains, forcing the closure of all roads. In San Bernardino County, the Wrightwood received between 27 and 60 inches of snow. The remainder of the San Bernardino County Mountains received 18 to 31 inches of snow. Near Lake Arrowhead, the roof of an Ice Skating Rink collapsed under the weight of the snow. The Apple Valley received 5 to 12 inches of snow. In the Riverside County Mountains, an average of 12 inches snow fell. In the San Diego County Mountains between 7 and 12 inches of snow fell and 26 people suffering from mild hypothermia were rescued by the Border Patrol. In the Santa Ana Mountains, the snow level dropped to 3000 feet. Over the lower elevations, heavy rain caused mudslides and extensive urban flooding. Many of the major roadways were flooded for several hours. Between 2 and 5 inches of rain fell over Orange County and the western end of the Inland Empire. The remainder of the Inland Empire, as well as the San Diego County Coastal Plain and Inland Valleys received between 1 and 2 inches of rain. Over the coastal waters, southerly gale force winds quickly built 12 foot seas. A fast moving squall line behind the main frontal band, knocked down trees and power lines in Orange County and the western end of the Inland Empire, and broke tree branches in San Diego County. Thirty-two (32) people were injured during the storm and damage to property were estimated at $ 970,000.[Ref]
  • 2002, Feb. 7; The South Valley Surprise of 2002 was a Pacific Northwest windstorm that occured on February 7, 2002. The storm affected Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Idaho. The storm organized and matured rapidly, and was stronger than anticipated. The storm had sustained winds of 50 mph with gusts above 70 mph. Bandon, Oregon recorded a 88 mph wind gust. Storm damage was estimated to be $22.1 million (2002 USD).[Ref]
  • 2005, Jan. 25: Due to a strong inversion across the eastern Sierra and western Nevada, freezing rain fell on the morning of January 25th. Slick roads caused school closures in Lassen County, California. Semi-trucks were also stuck on U.S. Hwy. 395 near Janesville in Lassen County.[Ref]
  • 2008, Jan 3-5: Multiple storm systems contributed to a historic heavy snow event over Northern California from Jan. 3rd to the 5th. The event started off as a wind and snow event with blizzard conditions occurring in a number of places. The winds diminished on Jan. 4th, but the heavy snow continued and lowered in altitude through the evening of the 5th. [Ref]
  • 2008, Jan. 4-12; The January 2008 Western North American storm complex was a powerful Pacific extratropical cyclone that affected a large area of North America. The storm formed on December 29, 2007, as a powerful extratropial disturbance developed over eastern Siberia. This storm split into two storms in the Gulf of Alaska, while a 3rd storm brought the largest bands of snow and rain to the Pacific Coast from British Columbia to northern Mexico on January 5. From January 4 to the 5, general rainfall along the West Coast was around 2 inches in Oregon and Utah, while nearly 4 inches (100 mm) fell over parts of Nevada and as much as 10 inches in parts of California. Blackcap basin, California, received as much as 70 inches of snow. The highest reported wind gusts were 165 mph (260 km/h) in Tahoe City, California. On the afternoon of January 6, Kirkwood Ski Resort in California reported 10 feet (3.0 m) of snow in 48 hours with a storm total of 11 feet. The storm complex dissipated on January 22. The storm produced 58 confirmed tornadoes over the Eastern United States. There were 12 fatalities, two in California, eight in Utah and two in Oregon due to falling branches or trees, traffic accidents, and flooding.[Ref]
  • 2009, Oct. 7-20; The October 2009 North American storm complex was a powerful extratropical cyclone that was associated with the remnants of Typhoon Melor. The storm brought large amounts of rainfall to California. The storm formed on October 7, 2009 over the northern Gulf of Alaska, and dissipated on October 20, 2009. It affected Southeast Alaska, Canada, the Contiguous United States and Northern Mexico. It produced wind gust of 135 mph (217 km/h) along the Sierra Crest. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area recorded 23 in (580 mm) of snow while Monterey County, California received 21.34 in (542 mm) of rain. [Ref]
  • 2010, Dec 5 - Jan 15; The December 2010 North American blizzard was a major nor'easter and historic blizzard affecting the Contiguous United States, and portions of Canada. The system moved across the Atlantic and was known as Windstorm Benjamin in Europe. The storm formed in the western Gulf of Alaska on Dec 5. From Dec 15 through Dec 22, the system stalled off the coast of the Pacific Northwest bringing with it as much as 2 feet (61 cm) of rain to the San Gabriel Mountains and over 13 feet (4.0 m) of snow in the Sierra Nevada. Although the entire state of California was affected, the Southern California counties of San Bernardino, Orange, San Diego, and Los Angeles bore the brunt of the system of storms as coastal and hillside areas were impacted by mudslides and major flooding. The storm weakened while crossing the America west. The storm began to strengthen again on Dec 24, when it moved into the Gulf of Mexico and began a period of rapid intensification off the North Carolina coast. Trenton, GA, received 6" of snow while Rocky Mount and Wilson, NC, both received 12" of snow.[Ref]
  • 2012, Jan 16-20 - The January 2012 Pacific Northwest snowstorm was a large extratropical cyclone that brought record snowfall to the Pacific Northwest. Snowfall totals in Oregon reaching up to 50 inches (1,300 mm) with a 110 mph (180 km/h) wind gust reported at Otter Rock, Oregon. There were 3 fatalities. This storm affected California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and British Columbia.[Ref]
  • 2014, Dec 10-15; The December 2014 North American storm complex formed to the northwest of Midway Island on November 30, 2014. It dissipated on December 28, 2014. The storm hit the West Coast of the United States, beginning on the night of December 10, 2014. On December 11, the storm approached California, triggering mudslides, floods, and power outages across the state. At least 24 homes in Camarillo Springs were damaged by a rockslide while over 90,000 customers were without power. In the San Francisco Bay Area, 150,000 households were without power. The storm produced four EF0 tornadoes, one striking South Los Angeles, damaging at least five homes, and cut the power to over 1,000 home. Between Dec 14-15, the storm spawned 3 more EF0 tornadoes over Kansas and Mississippi. There were two fatalities in Oregon, killed by falling trees.[Ref]

For more information:

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  1. WorldAtlas – California Timeline   [Online]
      •WorldAtlas – The Chinese in California, 1850-1925   [Online]
  2. Ambrose, Stephen E. The Men Who Built the Transcontintal Railroad 1863-1869. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, © 2000, pp 57-58
  3. Ambrose, Stephen E. The Men Who Built the Transcontintal Railroad 1863-1869. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, © 2000, pp 106
  4. Wikipedia – Spanish missions in California   [Online]
  5. e-ReferenceDesk – California First Early Inhabitants   [Online]
  6. Wikipedia – Beringia   [Online]
  7. Wikipedia – Alcatraz Island Light   [Online]
      •Holland, Jr., Francis Ross America's Lighthouses, An Illustrated History. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc. © 1972, pp 156
  8. Wikipedia – Indigenous peoples of California   [Online]   •Heizer, Robert F., volume editor. Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 8: California. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, © 1978. ISBN 978-0-16-004574-5
  9. The California State Military Museum – The Shelling of Ellwood   [Online]   •Petrich, Paul D., A Hero in the Shadow Fleet, History Magazine, January/February 2012, p52
  10. IDcide - La Puente, CA   [Online]

Last Update: November 19, 2017

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