Could California Mud Slide Happen Here?

By: Kara Tsuboi
By: Kara Tsuboi

Rescue teams in Southern California are digging by hand in search of as many as 27 people missing in yesterday's massive landlside in La Conchita.
Four people are *confirmed dead in the slide.
Ventura County authorities were in the process of evacuating the small coastal community yesterday when the towering bluff, saturated with days of heavy rain, collapsed.
Twelve homes were completely destroyed.
Another 15 were damaged.
This is actually the second slide in that same area in ten years.
In 1995, nine homes were destroyed in a similar landslide.
Northern Nevada is not immune from the danger of landslides
Because the area has suffered dozens in the past, some scientists are concerned that the heavy storms could trigger new ones.
Right now, it's too early to tell if there is a serious threat because there are a number of factors that come into play: temperature, future storms and the specific terrain.
One thing's for sure: scientists will be closely watching certain parts of Northern Nevada, in fear that disaster could strike.
Fresh feet of winter snow creates a virtual playground in the winter months...but in some elevations, when temperatures warm, all that snow could turn into a landslide danger zone.
Any sort of slide activity in the higher elevations might not happen unless the temperature spikes...or until
much later in the Spring, when the weather is consistently warm.
[CG at 0'50":Newsfile (Double Line)\Ophir Creek Slide\May 1983]
That's exactly what happened on Slide mountain 22 years ago.
Slightly lower in elevation--but almost as vulnerable to a landslide--are the charred hills that remain from the Waterfall Fire last summer.
In the lower elevations, landslides are unlikely...but urban flooding is quite possible because of the abnormally heavy snowpack.
In 1997, snow followed by heavy, warm rains threatened a stretch of I-80 in Sparks.
The people most at risk are those in the flood plains or on a steep slope.
Unfortunately, because you can't prevent a flood or slide situation, the only things you can do are to be vigilant of the weather and know your neighborhood's incident history.


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