Impact of a recent mudslide in California

A major storm has caused flash floods and mudslides in Southern California cutting off the major link between Northern and Southern California. It is incredibly fortunate that no one was killed or seriously injured.

Those that were trapped in their vehicles were rescued and taken to emergency shelters. Public works are now working to clean-up the mess left behind by the mudslides, expected to take a number of days.

There are still concerns about the potential for more landslides or mudslides along the road due to the rainfall reducing their stability. Geotechnical assessments are being undertaken to assess slope stability along the road.

In addition to transport disruption, a number of houses were damaged by the mudslide. A local rancher also fears that his livestock were swept away by the mudslide and likely dead. 

NOAA are forecasting a particularly bad El Nino event, which is likely to bring greater than average rainfall to the Southern California region. It is unlikely that this will bring California out of the drought that has plagued the area, but coupled with the devastating fire season destroying vegetation holding stabilising soils on slopes could mean more mudslides in the region over the coming months.

Follow me on twitter: @naturehazard or at The Geohazards Blog.

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