Know the Warning Signs of a Landslide

In a landslide, large masses of earth, rock, or debris move down a slope. It can happen after an earthquake, large storm, fire, volcanic eruption, rapid snow melt, and even a large-scale construction project. The damage can be devastating, but even a few inches of slope movement can cause septic, sewer, and water lines disruptions, along with detrimental shifting of home and building foundations.

Here are some signs to watch for from the US Geological Survey (USGS):

  • Leaning telephone poles, trees, retaining walls, or fences
  • Springs, saturated ground, and seeps in areas that haven’t been typically wet before
  • Unusual cracks or bulges in the ground, sidewalk, or pavement
  • Soil moving away from building foundations
  • Secondary structures like decks and patios leaning and/or moving relative to the main house
  • Sunken or down-dropped road beds
  • Bulging ground appearing at the base of a slope
  • Unusual sounds, including trees cracking, and boulders knocking together, along with a faint rumbling sound that slowly gets louder
  • Sudden decreases in creak water levels, even though rain is still falling or has recently stopped

Evacuation is often the only way to protect lives. As with other disaster situations, never ignore an evacuation order.

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