Welcome

Thank you for visiting paducahsun.com, the online home of The Paducah Sun.

Calendar
June 2012
S M T W T F S
27 28 29 30 31 01 02

Click here to submit an event.

Officials say no national system in place to track landslide hazards

BY GOSIA WOZNIACKA AND PHUONG LE Associated Press

SEATTLE - People living in the path of a deadly Washington state landslide had virtually no warning before a wall of mud, trees and other debris thundered down the mountain. Some of the homeowners didn't even know the hillside could give way at any time.

Unlike the warning systems and elaborate maps that help residents and officials prepare for natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes, there's no national system to monitor slide activity and no effort underway to produce detailed nationwide landslide hazard maps.

The U.S. Geological Survey doesn't track or inventory slide areas on a national scale, despite an ambitious plan to do so more than a decade ago when Congress directed it to come up with a national strategy to reduce landslide losses.

That's left states and communities to put together a patchwork of maps showing landslide hazards. In some cases, they are discovering that more buildings than previously thought are sitting on unstable ground. Even then, that information may not make its way to property owners.

Building a nationwide system is now possible with new technology, experts say, but would require spending tens of millions of dollars annually and could take more than a decade to complete with the help of states and cities. So far, however, there has been little public outcry for faster, concerted action.

"No one has pushed it, and it hasn't been a priority," said Scott Burns, a geology professor at Portland State University.

"It's costly to monitor it, and we don't want to pay for it."

He added, "Now they're seeing these large disasters and saying this is important."

The challenge, experts say, is that many landslides are inactive or cause consistent low-level damage, while big, destructive landslides happen only sporadically.

They also don't cause the type of spectacular devastation hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes do - so they often don't get the same attention or resources.

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Your comment has been submitted for approval
captcha 9847ea94a5674865af275cda2dccd404
Top Classifieds
  • Tiny Schnauzer Pups,Paper-trained 270 ... Details
  • SEEING is believing! Don't b ... Details
  • CONCORD AREA MCHS - 3 miles ... Details
  • 2007 Taurus,92K mi, purchased in 2008 ... Details
  • Chevy Silverado Z71 2500 HD &apos ... Details
  • Lincoln Cartier 99' 160,690 ... Details

Most Popular
  1. Proposal, sale are miles apart
  2. Tax issues to consider in a divorce
  1. Father's grave is located after half-century search
  2. Locals to compete in Coca-Cola Classic
  3. 20% of grads hit all ACT benchmarks
  1. Proposal, sale are miles apart
  2. Tax issues to consider in a divorce
Discussion

Check out these recently discussed stories and voice your opinion...