The Storms of 1962 of led to flooding and mudslides all over Oakland. The northwest coast from the Bay Area to Canada was slammed with a series of storms, and led to at least 46 deaths, including two in Oakland. 1 The storms were also accompanied by high winds; weather historians refer to the storms as The Big Blow or the Columbus Day Storm. 2
Landslides and flooding cut off access to the Orinda side of the Caldecott Tunnel, the Cull Canyon dam in Castro Valley nearly burst, and numerous buildings were damaged by flooding, falling trees, and landslides. Game 6 of the World Series in San Francisco was delayed because of the storms. The Nimitz Freeway was shut down because of flooding.
Note the footage of a flooded Grand Avenue; the water flowing down the steps is at the end of South Crossways where it meets Roslyn Court (in the Berkeley city limits), just up the hill from Chabot Elementary.
At 101 Kimberlin Heights Drive, Diana Dobson, age 5, was killed when mud and debris slammed into the house. Her mother was in the process of leading her and her brother James, age 2, from the house. 1 A playhouse was built at Munck Elementary in her memory. 3
The electrical system in the Caldecott Tunnel was damaged by water and mud. For a time, only one tunnel was open, and only during commute hours. From 6AM to 9AM it ran westbound, and from 1PM to 7PM it ran eastbound. 4,5
1962 was a particularly bad year for weather:
- The Great Flood of 1962 in Hamburg - February, 1962. Storm surge broke though dikes and killed 315 people
- Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 - March, 1962. Also called "The Great Atlantic Storm"
- Typhoon Wanda - September, 1962. Storm with winds up to 162mph struck during a high tide
- Tropical Storm Harriet - October, 1962. Killed 935 people in Thailand (some sources say 1,000+)
- Worst Winter on Record - winter of 1962-1963 was the coldest winter on record in Ireland
Links and References
- Sea of Mud Kills Small Girl Here; Disaster Grows / Child Dies In Sea of Mud Here (continuation) Oakland Tribune October 13, 1962
- 50th Anniversary of the Columbus Day Storm wunderground.com (via archive.org)
- A Dollhouse Named Diane / Pretty Memorial To a Pretty Girl (continuation) Oakland Tribune April 21, 1963
- Tunnel Part Open; Jam Eases Oakland Tribune October 16, 1962
- Tunnel Trouble Oakland Tribune October 17, 1962
- Storm Hits Many Homes in Eastbay Oakland Tribune October 14, 1962
- Mud Barricades Still Isolate Families Along Hill Streets / Mud Still Maroons Families (continuation) Oakland Tribune October 16, 1962