Mudslides Cause Wreckage; Missing People Numbers Rise

Laura Powell, Layout Artist

Southern California towns are left in ruins as destructive mudslides have occurred across the state, leaving families and friends scattered and distraught.

The reason this massive mudslide transpired was because of a combination of heavy rainfall and hillsides. The water was reported to be falling at more than one and a half inches an hour when half an inch an hour can start mudslides. Mudslides have hit California in the past with one taking place in 2005 at Ventura County.

Another disadvantage is the scorched terrain caused by the Thomas Fire, California’s largest wildfire. The Thomas Fire has burned over 280,000 acres of land, and is still burning. All of the charred land can cause even more deadly mudslides since it no longer has vegetation which could have made the land more resistant to mudslides. As of right now, 17 have been reported as killed and 48 people have gone missing. As the natural phenomenon continues to rage on, active searches are being conducted and  the evacuation zone size is being increased. In addition, no rainfall is forecasted for the week and high temperatures are expected.

However, according to Randall JIbson(research geologist), neighborhoods in range of the terrain could be in danger of mudflow for the next couple of years. Nonetheless, the people are already at work to find short and long term solutions. For short term, the  number one priority is to evacuate the people when heavy rains commence. For long term, basins could be made to slow down runoff and to compile debris.