More on the 1969 Inland Empire flood

Over the years there have been several floods in the IE. The most famous is the 1969 flood. In 1969, Day creek flooded down Haven ave running over 12 feet deep for the entire length of the highway. And Archibald, up above Hillside was in full flood. The Damn at the head of the canyon broke and all of the mud and debris either flowed down through the Horse Shoe Canyon and down Archibald or joined the raging Cucamonga Creek. In Etiwanda the Deer Creek was over 200 feet wide as it flowed out of the foothills after the damn at the head of Deer Creek Canyon broke, moving south and crossing over and closing Foothill in this area as well and effective isolating Chaffey Jr College. Lytle Creek broke its banks, washed Sierra ave in North Rialto, washed out the tracks coming out of the Cajon Pass and added its flow into the already swollen Santa Ana. On the Desert Side, The Mojave flowed above ground for its entire length out into the desert and formed a lake on the surface over 200 square miles round. Route 66 is Adelanto was washed away in several areas and in the Spruce Box Canyon of highway 138 leading to the Lucerne Valley, almost the entire valley was under water isolating several horse ranches in the valley. In Hesperia several miles of open desert flooded as water poured out of the Mountains after 100 inches of rain fell on that side. On the southern Deserts near Palm Springs and leading down to the Salton Sea all of the dry creek beds suddenly swelled with rain runoff coming out of the mountains. The Anza river flowing out of Box Canyon south of Palm Springs threatened to flood the small communities of La Qunita and Indio. And the White Water Creek broke its banks, and flowed across and down the 10 freeway for over 20 miles, all of the way to Indio. Its waters merged with the Coachella river and several others and flowed south into the Salton Sea rising the Salton Sea by over 4 feet and dooming it to future flooding. Water coming from the southern side of the Joshua Tree National Monument and the Little San Bernardino Mts added to the flow of the Coachella River and destroyed many homes south of Indio as it also flowed south into the Salton Sea. Back in Upland, all of the earthen damn along the base of the Mts broke and the water flowed through the ruined lemon and orange groves from the 1968 December freeze and snow. The word went out to the residents of Upland and Alta Loma for volunteers to build a giant earthen burm to keep the waters out of Upland and Montclair. Over 1200 people responded to the call for help and built the burm which can still be see today from Campus up to Baseline and then east into what is now the Upland Meadows Golf complex and homes. In 1969, that entire area was washed away and flooded for over 2 years before the waters finally evaporated from all of the small lakes and bogs that formed. And then it snowed the last two days of the storms. Almost 4 feet of snow fell down to 5,000 in the Mt's. There were thousands of waterfalls and small streams careening down out of the mountains. At Arrowhead Springs on Highway 18 above San Bernardino, water was flowing freely down the canyon almost 20 feet deep and extended the entire width of Waterman Canyon. In the Cajon Pass, The Cajon Creek washed then old highway 395 as it snaked its way through Blue Cut and Kenwood. Lost Lake was no longer lost as it swelled to nearly 100 times its normal size. It was a bout this time that the decision was made to finalize plans for putting the 15 freeway through but about 500 to 1,000 feet higher to avoid future floods. The water from this area made its way down into the Santa Ana River and eventually Prado Damn. Another Dam that officials were concerned about was San Antonio Dam above Upland. For the first time in its history it was nearly full and the eastern flood gates never before opened, were opened and water and desires flowed down into Montclair and finally down into Prado Dam. Euclid Ave was closed as the waters from the Prado Dam backed up and flooded all of the farmland and cattle country that makes up Chino. Chino women's prison had to be evacuated as waters from dam backed up and flooded all of the southern buildings and the Chino Men's Prison also had to move men out of the rising waters. Corona Airport was closed. Hammer ave was closed before it crossed the Santa Ana River. Archibald was open but it was like driving through a swamp with water up to the street level and water everywhere in the valley between Corona and Norco and the cities to the north. If I missing anything please let me know. I am sure I have missed several areas, but I think I have given you an idea of how bad the valley can flood when a 150 rain comes in and floods ravage the IE. gdh.


The bridge on Van Buren Riverside was wiped out, causing a halt to traffic heading west into Mira Loma


Add new comment