NWS and USGS Collaboration to Monitor and Warn for Regional Shallow Landslide Initiation in the San Francisco Bay Area, California (19)

Warren Blier, NOAA/NWS, Monterey, CA

Brian Collins, USGS



California is well-known to be susceptible to landslides. Landslides in the state generally occur due to precipitation (and to a lesser extent, earthquakes). Historically, large winter storms have been associated with the most destructive events, and in the highly developed San Francisco Bay Area, these have sometimes been quite severe. During the catastrophic central California rainstorm of 3-5 January 1982 for example, more than 18,000 slides were induced, with many transforming into debris flows that swept down hillslopes and drainages with little or no warning. At least 25 fatalities resulted, and damage of at least $66 million (1982 dollar valuation).

This presentation will describe a newly initiated collaboration between the USGS Landslide Hazards Program and the National Weather Service to develop a near-real-time landslide monitoring and warning program in the San Francisco Bay Area. This will leverage off of a landslide monitoring network recently deployed in the region by the USGS. Although originally intended for research rather than operational use, methodologies are being developed for its utilization in region-wide hazard assessment. When key thresholds are met prior to incoming storms, this information will then be relayed to WFO San Francisco, which will utilize its hazard communication capabilities and core partner relationships to quickly and effectively message it out.