Truck stuck in the mud on Sierra Highway when the Mint Canyon Creek overflowed (part of the Santa Clara River Watershed) during the El Nino weather event of February 1998. Photo by Gary Thornhill/SCVHistory.com.
A flash flood warning has been issued for the Santa Clarita Valley for Friday between the hours of 3 a.m. and 12 p.m. and residents of the Sand Fire burn area are encouraged to take precautions in the event of landslides.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected to pass through the valley with rainfall rates exceeding one-half inch per hour. The rainfall could lead to the first mud and debris flow of the season near recent burn areas, according to a report from the National Weather Service.
Residents near the Sand Fire burn areas are encouraged to be alert and prepare for possible mudslides.
Ready.gov has a list of steps you should take to prepare.
To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
Prepare for landslides by following proper land-use procedures – avoid building near steep slopes, close to mountain edges, near drainage ways or along natural erosion valleys.
Become familiar with the land around you. Learn whether debris flows have occurred in your area by contacting local officials. Slopes where debris flows have occurred in the past are likely to experience them in the future.
Get a ground assessment of your property.
Consult a professional for advice on appropriate preventative measures for your home or business, such as flexible pipe fittings, which can better resist breakage.
Protect your property by planting ground cover on slopes and building retaining walls.
In mudflow areas, build channels or deflection walls to direct the flow around buildings. Be aware, however, if you build walls to divert debris flow and the flow lands on a neighbor’s property, you may be liable for damages.
If you are at risk from a landslide talk to your insurance agent. Debris flow may be covered by flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Warning signs include changes in your landscape such as patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes (especially the places where runoff water converges) land movement, small slides, flows, or progressively leaning trees.
Doors or windows stick or jam for the first time. New cracks appear in plaster, tile, brick, or foundations.
Outside walls, walks, or stairs begin pulling away from the building.
Slowly developing, widening cracks appear on the ground or on paved areas such as streets or driveways.
Underground utility lines break.
Bulging ground appears at the base of a slope.
Water breaks through the ground surface in new locations.
Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, or trees tilt or move.
A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.
The ground slopes downward in one direction and may begin shifting in that direction under your feet.
Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.
Collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, and other indications of possible debris flow can be seen when driving (embankments along roadsides are particularly susceptible to landslides).