The U.S. Geological Survey alerted state and federal agencies today to the increased potential for landslides in the mountainous regions of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland due to anticipated heavy rainfall from Hurricane Ivan.
"Given the wet soil conditions we already have in many of these areas, the risk of numerous, fast-moving landslides is significant," Gerry Wieczorek, USGS landslide specialist said. "Residents in landslide-prone areas and anyone in mountainous areas should be aware of the warning signs and be prepared to move quickly. Intense rains have triggered landslides in the area before."
The slope of the land, the type of geology, ground saturation, and rainfall intensity and duration all play major roles in triggering landslides. During the inland passage of Hurricane Frances through mountainous western North Carolina, many areas received between 10 and 16 inches of rainfall over 24 hours, which triggered at least 20 isolated landslides that blocked highways and damaged or destroyed houses.
Currently, the National Weather Service of NOAA forecasts up to 15 inches of rainfall during the next couple of days (Sept. 16-19) through the southern/central parts of the Appalachian Mountains as far north as Pennsylvania. If heavy rainfall occurs as predicted, numerous landslides could occur in mountainous areas along the projected path of the storm in the States of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio Maryland, and Pennsylvania.. The USGS will continue to monitor the predicted track of Hurricane Ivan and issue landslide alerts to other states in its path if necessary.
Landslides are powerful. People living in these areas should be aware of the danger during severe weather and be ready to act if the situation warrants.
Advice for residents in affected areas:
Before the storm:
During the storm:
For more information, visit the following websites:
Debris-Flow Hazards in the United States: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-176-97/fs-176-97.html
Landslide Hazards: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-0071-00/
Debris-Flow Hazards in the Blue Ridge of Virginia: http://landslides.usgs.gov/html_files/nlic/blueridge.htm
The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.
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