I grew up in Upland, in the suburbs east of Los Angeles, in the foothills beneath Cucamonga Peak. Southern California’s storms this week have been a pleasant reminder of my childhood.
A little cross referencing of family memory and old weather records pinned it down to January of 1969. It was my sister Lisa’s 12th birthday. She was having a slumber party, and Dad and I cleared out to stay in a motel, which was a grand adventure for 10-year-old me. “Do you remember your 12th birthday party,” I asked her this evening. “Do you remember the rain?”
It poured. Memorably.
“Yeah,” Lisa said. “I’ve been thinking about that too.”
I found records from a weather station that must have been very close to our house in Upland. It shows 19.64 inches (50cm) of precipitation for January 1969, and another 14.57 inches (37cm) in February. At some point during the series of storms, when the sun had come out, Dad drove us out 16th street east of town to see where Cucamonga Wash had torn away the road to my Grandma’s house.
It remains one of he coolest things I’ve ever seen. Nature, all that raw power, and nothing we humans could do about it but wait for the waters to recede and rebuild the road.