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Authorities Warn of Landslides in Curry, Josephine Counties

With long-awaited rains in the forecast this week, the National Weather Service warns of flooding while geologists fear landslides could be the end result.

Posted: Nov. 20, 2018 6:02 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — With meteorologists warning that long-awaited rains are on the way, the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries warns that people in Curry and Josephine counties be on the watch for landslides.

"Heavy rain can trigger landslides and debris flows in steep terrain, and the risk is higher in burn areas," the agency warned.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the Klondike and Chetco Bar burn scar areas in Curry and Josephine counties beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday through 4 p.m. on Friday.

"Debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides. They can contain boulders and logs transported in a fast-moving soil and water slurry down steep hillsides and through narrow canyons. They can easily travel a mile or more. A debris flow moves faster than a person can run. People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk," the Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries said.

If your home, work, or travel routes are within a watch area, experts recommend the following steps:

  1. Stay alert. Track the flood watch by radio, TV, weather radio or online. If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
  2. Listen. Unusual sounds might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. A trickle of falling mud or debris may precede larger landslides. If you think there is danger of a landslide, leave immediately.
  3. Watch the water. If water in a stream or creek suddenly turns muddy or the amount of water flowing suddenly decreases or increases, this is a warning that the flow has been affected

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