For a few days in early 2005, Southern California was underwater. The city of Ventura took almost 15 inches of rainfall between December 27 and January 10, just short of the local average for an entire year. Up the 101 Highway, in the coastal hamlet of La Conchita, a landslide buried 13 homes and killed 10 people.
For The New Yorker, T. C. Boyle described the disaster from the perspective of a driver: "Steel beams snapped like chicken bones, railroad ties went airborne. Up ahead of me, beyond [an] overturned U-Haul, a few cars had got through, but now a vanguard of boulders came sluicing across the freeway, followed by a soupy river of mud…. The mud spread out across the pavement, seething around the tires and underneath the car and beyond, and soon dark tongues of it had pushed across the southbound lanes, too."
In the nearby town of Ojai, flooding from the same storms threatened the very existence of Soule Park Golf Course. A barranca runs through the center of the property, and normally it's dry. In January 2005, it became a large, furious river.