Tuesday, August 29, 2017

California Floods, 1850–2017


Floodwater flows past a discarded boot in San Jose during the Bay Area storm, February 20, 2017

Courtesy San Francisco Chronicle; photo: Scott Strazzante

Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday, August 25, 2017, we have seen an overwhelming array of images of the unrelenting rain and floods that have made the region home to terror, devastation, and despair.
Today we recall some of California’s major floods since our statehood began

January 1850: Sacramento


Detail, View of Sacramento City as it appeared during the great inundation in January 1850

Drawn by nature by Geo. W. Casilear & Henry Bainbridge (New York: Litho. of Sarony, c. 1850)
Courtesy, California State Library





1907: Oroville


Flooded streets in Oroville, 1907
California State Library
February–March, 1938: Los Angeles

Flooding at West 43rd Place near Leimert Boulevard, Los Angeles, 1938


1964: Northern California

Oroville Dam during the Northern California flood, Dec. 23, 1964
California Department of Water Resources; photo: Bob Mortensen
1997: Northern California
Detail, Flooded homes in Olivehurst, January 3, 1997
San Francisco Chronicle; photo: Vince Maggiora

Shelly Kale
Publications and Strategic Projects Manager
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Read more about California floods on the CHS blog:



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