INSIGHTS and INNOVATIONS Joint NOAA/NWS/USGS Prototype Debris Flow Warning System for Recently Burned Areas in Southern California BY PEDR O RESTREPO, DAVID P. JORGENSEN , SUSA N H . CANNON , JOH N COSTA, JAYM E LABER, JO N MAJOR , BROOK S MARTNER, JI M PURPURA , AN D KEVI N WERNE R n the United States, landslides re- sult in an estimated 25-50 deaths I an d damages between $1 and $3 billion annually. Debris flows are gravity-driven mixtures of sediment an d water that are intermediate be- tween coherent landslides and water floods , most commonly initiated whe n heavy rainfall or rapid snow- melt mobilizes soil on steep slopes, sendin g a slurry of rocks, soil, and organi c debris downhill with tre- mendou s force. Th e public ofte n calls thes e mudslides (Fig. 1). Because of thei r close link with precipitation, debri s flows are more predictable tha n most other types of landslides. Th e weather conditions that trig- ger them can be the same as those FIG. I . St. Sophia Church Camp in upper Waterma n Canyon near San Bernardino, California. In December 2003, a debris flow triggered
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Dec 1, 2008
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