Flash Floods and Mudslides


January 27th, 2008

I’m sorry I (Tully) haven’t posted in a few days, but I have a pretty good excuse. I experienced one of the most unforgettable and unforgettably terrifying experiences I’ve had in a long, long time. However, it was the second natural disaster I’ve been through this year, so somehow it seemed… normal.

The check dams that have prevented debris from being swept down our canyon in years past burst under the pressure of a heavy rain on Thursday night. That surge sent a wall of water that contained boulders, trees, and all other types of debris down the drainage ditch that runs through the center of campus.

In this sequence of images taken by Peter Tomita, a chaperone visiting with the Rio Vista school (which I was in charge of at the time), one can see the damage (though I will say, as crazy as these images are, they don’t do it justice). The first picture was taken seconds after the wave of mud hit, and the second was just a second or two later as the picnic tables (located 20 feet from the ditch where the real action was occurring) were swept downhill until they came to rest against the building I live in (image 3). Image 4 shows the bridges over the ditch that were destroyed by the flood waters. Image 5 shows the mud that was deposited outside the doors of the students dorms… and that’s AFTER shoveling it out. It was about 4 inches deep outside those doors before that. The last image shows Phoebe, our Assistant Program Director, covered in mud and delivering the emergency information to the students and chaperones.

It was an incredible experience - one I hope to never have to deal with again. Many thanks to the Rio Vista school - the chaperones were outstandingly patient and understanding, and the students never stopped smiling. We’re thankful no one was injured.

The clean up began today. It will take our facility a long time to recover, so it may be a week or more before I have time to take some pictures myself, especially because we are due for just more and more rain in the next few days. Wish us luck!

unbelievable… that’s all I’ve got…

Kendall — January 27th, 2008

oh my goodness tully! i am so sorry, and i hope the campsite is okay, if i were there i’d help :)

YASMINE — January 27th, 2008

wow. Dude i’m so sorry to hear about this… you guys have been pushed through more then i think any other staff over the last two seasons. But if anyone can step it up and keep things positive - its you guys. Thinking about what you must be feeling kept bringing a certian song to my head - its called ”kicked in the head” by the kissers… check it out.

miss ya tons

janet — January 28th, 2008

those are pretty amazing pictures. i can’t imagine trying to ”pick up” after that much mud. i am blown away.

rachel swenny — January 28th, 2008

Wow! your photos really take me back!! I instructed at Toyon from ’95-’98. January of ’95 looked very similar to these photos. How does this slide compare to then?

Thank you for putting together this site. Your photos really capture Catalina and Toyon life.

greg gaiera — January 31st, 2008

Pretty insane. Got any update for us?

Jonny — February 1st, 2008

nar nar dude I heard but had not seen yet…Sorry bro …..On a happy note I guess you could make mud angels haha…did the boofalo get to surf dude?

Hippie Blackfoot — February 21st, 2008

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