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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Monday, Jul 20, 2015

darrylmanzer0215What is all this rain? This is July, isn’t it? Thunder and lightning plus flash floods and mud slides. At least it gives the local social media sites something to talk about besides Confederate flags, gay marriage and other political topics. I love the rain for that alone.

I’ll bet Church Street in Castaic has a lot of new ruts and washouts this morning. It still isn’t paved as once promised by the county. Maybe some of the funds from Chiquita can help pave that road and a couple more in that little hamlet. Sure would be nice. Castaic Area Town Council would have something to be proud of, should that happen.

Our little valley smells so much better after a good washing. The sage and pepper trees are fantastic. Add in a few eucalyptus trees, and the smell is darned near intoxicating. Of course, back in the day, we would be mentioning the onions and the feed-lots. I can do without those last two odors.

Heavy rain in Acton means many of the paved streets start to look like Church Street in Castaic. So much dirt and mud flows down Crown Valley and Escondido Canyon roads that the county will have to come out and clean it off. Many places have a few inches of dirt over the pavement. Sure happy I had a Jeep yesterday so I got to my destination in Acton.

One weather guesser at the National Weather Service called all of this rain a “super historic” event. The last July on record with this much rain in Southern California was in 1902. I fact, Los Angeles hasn’t seen this much July rain since 1887. How cool is that?

We really don’t know what to do here when it rains in July like it has been doing that last couple of days. Heck, we don’t know what to do when it rains anytime since this drought started. We do hope this is the start of the end of the drought – but it isn’t even a small drop in the bucket of what we need to overcome our lack of water.

Maybe for a few short days, our brown lawns will be a little greener. Maybe the dust will be settled for a whole week.

I watched the water running off of Crown Valley Road and into our river, the Santa Clara, but even at a flow rate that was sweeping cars along the street by the time the water got into the river sands, it was absorbed as quickly as it entered.

I’m amazed at how quickly the water sank into the sands. I’m sure it will show up downstream someday. It is just that a foot-deep flow as wide as the street wasn’t to be seen but a few yards after it got to the river. Things are that dry.

Has anyone been up to Mentryville to see if Pico Creek is trying to reclaim those parts where roads were built over it? Every bridge and road built over Pico Creek has washed out many times over. The flows up there can be huge, and they are fast. It is really a “flash flood” in Pico Canyon when that happens. I’ve seen it when the creek is a light brown mud flow many feet deep and many yards wide. It wasn’t even a year after a fire. It is a very large watershed that drains the canyon.

We live in the high desert. It is an area that is prone to flash floods and thus washed-out roads and bridges. In the low desert near Palm Springs yesterday, I-10 was washed out. Don’t know when it will be open, but there is about a 20-yard-wide gap in the highway that is also maybe 20 feet deep. Happened in an instant. At least the person in the car that went into that washout was saved.

The past couple of days haven’t been too kind to our highway system in SoCal. There was a fire in Cajon Pass that had vehicles burning on the I-15. The I-10 washout and even a small blaze on Friday afternoon on the Highway 14 truck route slowed traffic leaving Los Angeles. All we needed was a problem on the 101 and every conspiracy theorist would have had a field day. “All routes out of L.A. blocked.”

It does appear the rain is putting out the fires. Everything in balance. On a submarine we used to laugh when, during a fire drill, someone would say, “Don’t mind the fire. The flooding will put it out.”

Most of all, we’ve got to be careful on our slick roads and fast-flowing waters. Let’s rejoice in the rain. Just take it easy, please. I don’t want all three of my readers hurt in any way.

Take an umbrella today. May need it.


Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley, where he serves as executive director of the SCV Historical Society. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived atDManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].


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1 Comment

  1. How much rain actually fell over the last couple of days? I enjoyed the read by the way :-)

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