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Several weeks of monumental storms would be all it would take to overwhelm California’s flood control system and cause widespread flooding and destruction. In this file photo from the Los Angeles Times, floodwaters in the L.A. River on March 2, 1938, destroyed the Southern Pacific railroad bridge.
California’s drought-to-deluge cycle can mask the dangers Mother Nature can have in store.
During one of the driest March-through-February time periods ever recorded in Southern California, an intense storm dumped so much rain on Montecito in January that mudflows slammed into entire rows of homes. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed, and at least 21 people died.
It was a grim reminder that in a place so dry, sudden flooding can bring disaster.
Eighty years ago this month, epic storms over just six days caused widespread destruction across Southern California.