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TBT: Santa Maria sees historic rainfall, flooding in February of 1969

TBT: Santa Maria sees historic rainfall, flooding in February of 1969

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From the February 25, 1969 edition of the Santa Maria Times: 

Area Storm Damage High

Rain and mud Monday cut a wide path of destruction along the California coast. 

In many areas the damage rivalled the disasterous January floods. Areas from Salinas to San Diego had received from one to three inches of rain during the weekend, and the skies opened up with from two two four additional inches Monday. 

However, a break in the storm came at about midnight, as just as weary flood workers figured they were losing the battle. 

Dam Gates Open: SM River Size Doubles 

The flood gates of Twitchell Dam above Santa Maria were opened this morning in an attempt to decrease the supply of collected precipitation after more that 30,000 acre feet of water poured into the flood control facility from 7 a.m. Monday until 7 a.m. today.

It is expected the releasing water will double the size of the Santa Maria River from Fugler's Point near Garey to the ocean. 

The decision to open the gates was made this morning by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after the dam reached a level of 154,460 acre feet of storage. Total capacity is 239,000 acre feet which would have left only about a capacity of 84,000 acre feet of storage, ad the gates not been opened. 

Every Thursday, Santa Maria Times editors will reach into the newspaper's 139-years of digital archives to offer you "Throwback Thursday," reminiscing about the rich history of the Central Coast and the Santa Maria Valley.

To access this memory and more, subscribe to Santa Maria Times digital archives at

Jason Anderson is the Digital Producer for the Santa Maria Times. He can be reached at 805-739-2213


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