Landside

Landslides occur when masses of rock, mud, or other earth materials move down a slope. This movement can be gradual or it can occur at high speeds. They can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including earthquakes, severe weather, fire, and human activity.

It is important to be informed about changes in conditions in your area that could indicate a landslide is about to occur.

See a landslide vulnerability map for the City of Renton.

Before a Landslide

Protect Yourself

There are some steps you can take to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property from the effects of a landslide.

  • Avoid building near steep slopes, near drainage ways or along natural erosion valleys.
  • Get a professional geologic assessment of your property.
  • Help protect your property by planting ground cover along slopes and constructing retaining walls.
  • Speak to your insurance agent about your coverage. Debris flows may be covered as part of the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP).

Recognize Landslide Warning Signs

If you notice these signs, leave the area immediately and call 911.

  • Water seeping or springing in places that have are not typically wet
  • New cracks or bulges in the ground or in pavement
  • Soil movement around building foundations
  • Structures like decks or patios moving in relation to the main building
  • Tilting or cracking foundations or floors
  • New leaning, tipping, or offset of structures like telephone poles or fences
  • Sudden increase or decrease in creek or river water levels
  • A faint rumbling sound or the cracking of debris like boulders or trees can indicate an approaching landslide.

During a Landslide

If you know or suspect a landslide is occurring, evacuate the area immediately.

  • Do not spend the night in a location you suspect may be at risk due to landslide, many landslide deaths and injuries occur while people are asleep and cannot react quickly.
  • The risk of landslide increases during heavy rain events. During such events, listen to local news stations on a battery-powered weather radio for alerts and warnings.
  • If you see a landslide occurring, move away from the debris path as quickly as possible.
  • During heavy rain events, look upstream before crossing bridges to make sure a mudslide is not occurring along the stream bed. Do not cross bridges if a mudflow is approaching.
  • Avoid river-valleys and low lying channels during heavy rain events. If you are near a stream channel or valley, pay attention to any sudden changes in water level.
  • If you are caught in a landslide, curl into a tight ball and protect your head.

After a Landslide

  • Stay away from the slide area. Additional slides can occur in the same place, and landslide debris could be contaminated or dangerous.
  • Watch for flooding that may occur as a result of the landslide.
  • Report potential hazards such as downed power lines, damaged roads, or broken utility lines.
  • Check structures for damage before re-entering. If you see evidence of damage, have a professional inspect your home.

Resources

Resources

Mapped Landslides in King County
Interactive map showing mapped and historic landslides in King County.

King County Landslide Information
Landslide mapping information from King County.

WA Department of Natural Resources Landslide Information
Mapped landslides in Washington State, preparedness information, and geological conditions for landslides.

United States Geological Survey Landslide Program
Geologic information about landslides.

Landslide preparedness information from Ready.gov
General landslide preparedness information.

Landslide preparedness information from the American Red Cross
General landslide preparedness information.



Preparedness information adapted from ready.gov/landslides-debris-flow.
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