Real-Time Landslide Warning During Heavy Rainfall

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Science  13 Nov 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4829, pp. 921-925
DOI: 10.1126/science.238.4829.921


A real-time system for issuing warnings of landslides during major storms is being developed for the San Francisco Bay region, California. The system is based on empirical and theoretical relations between rainfall and landslide initiation, geologic determination of areas susceptible to landslides, real-time monitoring of a regional network of telemetering rain gages, and National Weather Service precipitation forecasts. This system was used to issue warnings during the storms of 12 to 21 February 1986, which produced 800 millimeters of rainfall in the region. Although analysis after the storms suggests that modifications and additional development are needed, the system successfully predicted the times of major landslide events. It could be used as a prototype for systems in other landslide-prone regions.