At midnight, March 12, 1928, one of the worst catastrophes in Californian history occurred: The St. Francis Dam broke. Twelve billion gallons of water washed down the San Francisquito Canyon, killing hundreds in its path. The ruins of this disaster can still be seen today.
The official body count was 450 dead, but the actual number was substantially higher, since San Francisquito Canyon was home to hundreds of transient farm workers who were never counted. This would likely have brought the death toll higher than the famous 1906 San Francisco quake.
The dam broke just under two years after its completion. More than 900 buildings and $13 million in property were destroyed in the resulting flood. But the greatest tragedy of this disaster was that no one needed to perish!
There was ample warning time on the morning it broke. A worker at the dam saw water leaking through the dam wall. He warned his boss, William Mulholland, about this danger. After looking at the dam, Mulholland, who also designed the structure, decided that there was no cause for concern. But that night, the dam broke, sending a wall of water as high as 140 feet down the canyon through Saugus, Fillmore, Santa Paula, and finally, the Pacific Ocean. It traveled 54 miles in 5.5 hours, destroying everything in its path.
Another disaster loomed over the city of Nineveh. God called Jonah to warn the people, but the reluctant prophet ran the other direction. Through some unusual turn of events, Jonah finally carried out his duty and saved a large city of people who might have perished.
We also have been given a message of warning to give to the world. It is found in Revelation 14. Will we ignore the warning signs? Will we run like Jonah or respond like Mulholland saying: “There is no cause for concern? Let us be sober and responsible and do our part to warn our friends of impending disaster.