Record rain sent 3 to 4 feet of water rushing into his home. ‘There is nothing livable left’

A man is seen from the back outside the open front door of a home whose floors are shiny with water.
Homeowner Carlos Flores stands in the entrance to his Oxnard home on Thursday. He said about 10 inches of water left furniture, floors and walls damaged and sent Christmas gifts floating.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Bob Myers sat in the gymnasium of Oxnard College on Thursday afternoon holding his cane.

At around 1:45 a.m. Thursday, he was awakened at his home in the 55-plus community of Hueneme Bay by the sound of rushing water.

A storm that barreled down on Ventura County dumped what officials said was historic levels of rain over a short period of time. The downpour left streets flooded across Oxnard, Ventura and Port Hueneme, where Myers lives.

“I thought some pipes had blown up or something,” he said. Myers ran to his bathroom but found no issues. He then moved to his back door, where he saw water rushing into his home “like someone was standing there with a fire hose.”


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Dec. 21, 2023

The doors, he explained, were closed, and the water was coming in from small spaces around them. The doors could not be opened.

He looked through one of his windows at the complex and saw “a lake.”

“Eventually,” he said, “the water receded enough that people could begin getting their doors open.”

Stories like this emerged in Ventura County coastal communities hit hard by the rainstorm.

Preliminary data suggest Oxnard may have experienced one of the heaviest downpours ever observed in the area, with rainfall rates of 3 inches per hour sustained for more than an hour.

“These are genuinely extraordinary torrential downpours — and, importantly, they’re continuing. This is not over yet,” Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with UCLA, said at a briefing Thursday.

Fire officials in Ventura County reported that 911 dispatchers had received more than 275 calls for help over a five-hour period as floodwaters rose in the coastal communities of Port Hueneme and Oxnard.


Mud and debris tumbled into roadways in Santa Barbara, closing at least one off-ramp on the 101 Freeway. Elsewhere, cars were surrounded by rushing water that appeared to be several feet deep.

But Port Hueneme was particularly hard hit.

One of Myers’ neighbors accidentally cut himself while attempting to get out of his home and was hospitalized.

Although the waters had receded, the damage to Myers’ home had been done.

“There is nothing livable left in my home,” he said. From 3 to 4 feet of water had entered the house, throwing appliances and furniture around and soaking walls.

Myers was at a loss about what his next steps would be.

“I am an unfortunate one,” he said. “I have no family in this state. I have no family closer than the East Coast.

“I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”