What past flooding events have occurred in Ventura County?

Ventura County has had a history of floods over the years. The earliest report of flooding occurred in 1862. Since 1862 floods have occurred in 1867, 1884, 1911, 1914, 1938, 1941, 1943, and 1944 (Warren 1945). In modern times Ventura County has had floods in 1969, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1992, 1995, 1998, and 2005.

Official storm reports began with the storm season of 1884 which produced 40 inches of rain in Santa Paula and 70 inches in Ojai. The largest and most damaging recorded floods in the Santa Clara and Ventura watersheds occurred in 1969. The combined effects of the 1969 flood were disastrous: 13 people lost their lives, five bridge crossings spanning the Santa Clara River were destroyed, and property damage was estimated at $60 million (1969 dollars).

Flooding along the Sespe in 1978 led to the construction of the Fillmore levee and installation of the first Automated Local Evacuation in Real Time (ALERT) rain gauge in Ventura County (now a part of the Flood Warning System).

Calleguas Creek had two significant damaging floods in 1980 and 1983. The 1980 flood caused approximately $9 million damage to the Point Mugu Naval Base due to flooding and sediment deposition. In 1983 repairs to flood control facilities were estimated to cost $15 million. Damage to other public and private facilities were estimated to be approximately $39 million with little more than half that total due to damage to agricultural lands.

In 1998, damage from flooding caused 500 county residents to apply for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In 2005, homes in Moorpark, Casitas Springs and Ojai were flooded, major roads including Highways 101, 126, 33 and 150 were closed for more than a week, and the Santa Paula airport was closed for several months due to flood damage to the runway.

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