Why hillsides and heavy rainfall events can often lead to major issues and why be worried?
DISCUSSION: Every day in many places and regions spread around the world, there are substantial concerns tied to the ongoing threat of unpredictable landslide and/or mudslide events. Often, the biggest concerns are tied to the fact that when a given region experiences particularly heavy rainfall events over a relatively short period, there can often be a corresponding impact on both lower-level locations as well as more elevated locations in the form of a weakening of soil integrity.
More specifically, a substantially weakened soil integrity means that even with somewhat stabilizing features such as the roots of shrubs and/or trees, more saturated upper and middle soil layers can lead to there being a greater potential for landslides and/or mudslides under the corresponding and unfortunate circumstances. Moreover, when the right combination of circumstances comes into play and the threat of mudslides and landslides increases, this can lead to potential road closures, damage to local ecosystems, and even fatalities in some cases. Therefore, when there is a forecast for heavier rainfall in a region which is historically prone to landslides and/or mudslides because of heavier rainfall events, it is advisable for residents which are in the path of such threats to always heed the advice of emergency officials. In short, it is always better to get out of harms way than to try to figure out a clever way to get around such threats just by generating what is thought to be enough protection from such threats.
Moreover, depending on the type of soil composition in place within a given region, a given landslide or mudslide event can behave differently in terms of their total spatial extent and their impact reach from start to finish. Thus, in a world where rainfall events and precipitation totals in atmospheric events such as (but certainly not limited to) tropical cyclones are expected to likely become more extreme as time moves forward, there is a correspondingly increasing threat for the occurrence of such events and people should always take respective threats as serious as local officials and scientists are suggesting they may be under certain circumstances. The moral of this story is to always take geological threats such as landslides and mudslides as real as the threats always appear to be and never underestimate the power of falling rock and soil regardless of the exact steepness of a given slope.
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© 2019 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
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