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May 29, 2013 11:37 PM by Olivia DeGennaro and Katherine Worsham, KSBY News

Counting down 60 top stories of 60 years: #20-16

We're celebrating our 60th anniversary here at KSBY with a countdown of the top 60 local stories of the past 60 years.

The brutal El Nino winter storm of 1998 takes number 20 on the countdown.

The two-day storm took the lives of Santa Maria CHP Officers Rick Stovall and Britt Irvine on February 24th, 1998.

They were driving late at night on Highway 166 to rescue a motorist, when they crashed into the flooded Cuyama River.

El Nino killed at least six other people in California and caused $457 million in damages.

A fire that destroyed a Santa Barbara tourist attraction is number 19 on our countdown.

On the early morning of April 14th, 1973, a fire at the Harbor Restaurant closed all of Stearns Wharf for six years.

It was restored and reopened in the fall of 1981.

Another fire damaged part of the pier in 1998.

Five million people visit Stearns Wharf every year, making it Santa Barbara's most-visited landmark.

Number 18 is the historic Cal Poly festival-turned raging riot called "Poly Royal."

It started in 1933 as an open house event, but took a dangerous turn when it became all too popular in 1990.

On April 27th of that year, it brought more than 100,000 people to Cal Poly to party.

Students began to riot in the streets late that night, throwing bottles and rocks.

110 people were arrested and more than 100 others were injured.

The festival was discontinued that year, but later brought back as "Open House".

KSBY covered the La Conchita landslide on January 10th, 2005.

That's number 17 on our countdown.

The disaster killed 10 people and destroyed or seriously damaged 36 homes.

It happened at the end of a 15-day period of near-record rainfall.

At number 16, a plane crash that killed 88 people on January 31st, 2000.

Alaska Airlines Flight 216 was flying from Mexico to San Francisco.

The pilot reported mechanical problems and was told to land at LAX.

Before he could make an emergency landing, the plane nose-dived into the ocean near Anacapa Island.

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