Mudslides happen in places all over the world. Awareness and education about these hazards is a first step toward reducing damaging effects, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says.
Here are seven things to know about mudslides:
- Mudslides are also known as debris flow and are a type of landslide.
- They occur when masses of debris, like earth or rocks, move down a slope. Mudslides are usually fast-moving and tend to flow in channels.
- Mudslides develop when flash flooding or excess water accumulates in the ground and creates a surge of water-saturated rock and debris. They can also start by other natural disasters.
- They usually start on steep slopes and areas of previous wildfires or other regions of destroyed vegetation.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that debris flows result in 25 to 50 deaths each year.
- If you live in an area prone to debris flows, get to know the surrounding land. The USGS says that before intense storms, you should watch the patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes near your home and note especially the places where runoff water converges, increasing flow over soil-covered slopes. You should also monitor for any signs of land movement, such as small landslides or debris flows, or progressively tilting trees.
- The USGS says that the most important thing you can do during a mudslide or debris flow is to stay alert and stay awake. Many deaths from these incidents happen when people are sleeping. Download the FOX Weather App to help monitor any flood alerts or rain in your area.