Los Angeles, CA Disastrous Flooding, Jan 1934
FLOOD DEATH TOLL MOUNTS TO 31 PERSONS.
POLICE LIST 27 OTHERS AS MISSING AND 35 HAD SUFFERED SERIOUS INJURIES, IT IS STATED.
3000 HOMES ARE DAMAGED.
MANY AUTOMOBILES BURIED IN DEBRIS; MERCHANTS' STOCKS DAMAGED.
Los Angeles, Jan. 3. -- (AP) -- The horror of another catastrophe, the third in nine months, flooded Southern California with misery, distress and enormous damage today.
Sunday, the greatest single day of rainfall in history here, loosed flood waters which had drowned at least 31 persons. In October 29 men were cremated in a brush fire. Last March an earthquake terrorized the southland, claiming 102 lives.
Between 8 and 15 inches of rain, suddenly pouring down as though a trap door had been sprung in leaden skies which had threatened bad weather for a week, created scenes of havoc second only to the appalling damage of the earthquake.
Besides the known dead, police listed 27 as missing, 35 had suffered serious injury and hundreds were treated for lesser hurts inflicted as avalanches of debris poured from the surrounding mountainsides over populated areas.
Hardly an acre of metropolitan area escaped without some scar.
From a New Year's weekend normally counted as one of the happiest periods here, augmented as it is by the holidays and the famed Tournament of Roses and Rose Bowl football game, Southern California awoke to scenes of appalling disaster.
Fear and grief written into their faces, people searched the morgues and hospitals for missing kin. Store owners, hearts gladdened by the rush of a holiday business that had bettered the records of three years, surveyed store stocks damaged by silt and water. Others counted possibly 3000 homes and 1500 automobiles damaged badly by water, a score of bridges washed out, highways swept away, railroad tracks inundated and roadbeds undermined.
The collapse of bridges and the washing away of homes caused most of the human casualties. Babies, boys and girls, young men and women, middle-aged and elderly persons were among the victims.
So furiously did the flood waters sweep through the area that for a time nearly all traffic was paralyzed. Twenty four hours after the first roar of mud and rock-laden waters terrified the victims there was only a semblance of orderly interurban and railroad train movements.
Tracing the course of the disaster, flood control engineers agreed that a cloudburst in the Montrose area precipitated most of the damage and loss of life. Montrose is a community cupped in the foothills about 15 miles north of Los Angeles, separated from the metropolis by the low-lying Verdugo Mountains.
Fate apparently had prepared circumstances well for the terror it was to enact. Several weeks ago a disastrous fire, a blaze subsequent to the one in Griffith Park here which took 29 lives, had burned the La Crescenta-LaCanada-Montrose area bare, no resistance was offered by nature to the excessive rainfall.
Raining constantly, beginning late last Saturday, water accumulated until a wall of 25 feet high was freed. Fourteen-year-old Jean Beauchamp told what it sounded like - what it did.
"I was in the house alone when I heard a roar like a wind storm approaching. The roar grew louder and louder. Timbers crashed and then I heard the rush of water. I was too scared to run."
"Then suddenly the flood struck our house. The lights went out and I was thrown into the muddy water. Rocks struck me as I tumbled through the water."
Jean lived because she could swim and grasped the stout branch of an oak tree, pulling herself to safety.
Another said that "as the black demon of roaring water hit, the building quivered for a few minutes and then the wall went out and we found ourselves tossing water, fighting rocks, boulders and debris as we were swept on."
So fast did the water flow in streets, one woman, stepping from the running board of her husband's automobile and attempting to ford the torrent, was sucked beneath the machine to her death.
Five died when their automobile plunged through a bridge wash-out and was caught in the maelstrom of mud and water which had swept away the crossing.
Three more automobiles similarily disappeared over another bridge. Several men in them swam to safety but two woman and another man disappeared. Police expected to uncover their bodies in the accumulation of silt. Some may even have been washed as far as the ocean, 30 miles distant.
Automobiles were buried up to the hoods and sometimes nearly to the tops in debris. Homes fell into washes and gullies.
Streets in all sections were paved by silt from six inches to two feet deep. In some areas the avalanche of water still rumbled past today, although the principal danger apparently had passed. The weather bureau predicted unsettled weather today and clearing weather Wednesday.
Schools here and in Glendale, which adjoins the Montrose district, did not open today. Examination of schools here already was underway as a result of the March earthquake and it was feared the floods may have further weakened some structures.
Revised Death List.
Los Angeles, Jan. 2. -- (AP) -- The revised death list in the Los Angeles flood of Sunday showed 31 dead today with 23 bodies identified.
MR. and MRS. J. E. MOORE and daughter, MARTHA, 7, San Gabriel.
SHERMAN and TOOTS HUBBARD, brother and sister, Wilmington, drowned with the MOORES when their automobile plunged through a broken bridge.
MRS. DOROTHY CARTER, Monterey Park.
MARILYN GHOSLIN, 4, Glendale.
MRS. MYRTLE ADAMS, Montrose.
ELWOOD PLUMB, 55, Long Beach.
CLYDE DOWELL, C.W.A. worker, Tujunga.
FRANK GEREGHTY, 45, North Hollywood.
MRS. RUTH X. REIHL, Montrose.
MRS. MARGARET SMITH, La Crescenta.
CHESTER HERRERA, 12, Los Angeles.
CLARK HARMON, Montrose.
SAM WILSON, 10, Montrose.
_____ WILSON, 12, a brother.
BETTY LORRAINE KLAAS, 10, Montrose.
MRS. VERA KAHN, 40, La Crescenta.
HOMER HIGLEY, 28, Montrose.
Four unidentified men, two unidentified women, three unidentified girls, two unidentified youths.
WINSTON DOTY, 20, Venice.
WESTON DOTY, 20, Venice, twin brother of WINSTON.
SAM CARTER, 70, Van Nuys.
Three unidentified men, two unidentified women, three unidentified girls.
With the exception of CARTER, all of the bodies were found in the Glendale-Montrose district, where the storm reached its height.
Ardmore Daily Ardmoreite Oklahoma 1934-01-02