Learn about landslide threats in your county with new DEQ tool

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - 3:25pm

The publicly available website and viewer are designed for use by community planners, emergency management personnel, design consultants, educators and real estate professionals. NCGS’ currently published landslide inventory contains information on more than 4,500 landslides.

The Landslides in Western North Carolina website includes several tools developed to help community members understand risks to property and lives.

Landslides pose significant risks to public health and safety, local economies, and home and business owners, and a new tool from the North Carolina Geological Survey (NCGS) will provide a glimpse at where they are most likely to threaten the state’s residents and infrastructure.

Working with the National Environmental Modeling & Analysis Center at the University of North Carolina Asheville NCGS has launched the Landslides in Western North Carolina Project website. The site, which maps data collected across many years by NCGS, includes a suite of tools that allow users to explore current and historical information about landslides in the state.

“This tool provides a wealth of information contributing to overall landslide knowledge and better preparation ahead of storms,” said Dr. Kenneth Taylor, State Geologist. “This will result in increased resiliency after the storms, and above all, improved safety levels.”

Staff from the North Carolina Geological Survey are shown with debris from a landslide in western North Carolina. Photo by North Carolina Geological Survey.The landslide team surveys and documents landslide locations and impact areas by mapping landscape features using satellite or aerial imagery,  unmanned aerial vehicles and conducting boots-on-the-ground field work.  

NCGS’ published landslide inventory contains information on more than 4,500 landslides. The new website provides a historical tour of landslide events in the state, and the new “Western North Carolina Landslide Hazard Data Viewer” will make it easier for various audiences to access, interact with and understand landslide hazard data.

“The Landslide Viewer is intended to be a living document,” said David Korte, Senior Geologist for Engineering Geology and Geologic Hazards at NCGS. “The information you see is current but is subject to change as more data becomes available. There are more counties to map in western North Carolina, and storms and landslides aren’t going to stop occurring.”

The mapping tool displays where landslides started, the extent of land movements and the volume of debris moved by previous landslides. The tool also includes:

  • Landslide Hazard Ranking, which displays areas ranked at moderate or high risk of landslide occurrence in response to an extreme precipitation event - typically more than 5 inches of rain over a 24-hour period These areas indicate where a landslide might start.
  • Potential debris flow pathways which indicate where a landslide might go.

The publicly available website and viewer are designed for use by community planners, emergency management personnel, design consultants, educators and real estate professionals. Data is available for download and is updated as landslides occur in North Carolina.

For more information, visit landslidesncgs.org.

Author: 
Josh Kastrinsky