California Winter Storm and Mudslides 2018

Start Date

January 9, 2018

Overview

NOAA Graphic of Winter Storms with cloud coverHeavy rains and flooding in recently burned areas of Southern California have triggered severe mudslides on slopes that have been denuded of vegetation, causing waist deep mudflows. Wildfires in December, including the Thomas Fire, swept through the area burning vegetation that helps prevent flooding and landslides.

Thousands have been evacuated from their homes, there have been 13 confirmed fatalities, and at least 163 injuries.  Boulders the size of cars have rolled down hillsides and blocked roads, and many homes have been washed off their foundations.  A group of up to 300 people are reportedly trapped by a landslide in Romero Canyon, just east of Santa Barbara.  

Links to Resources:

Latest Updates

March 7, 2018
Optical images acquired by Planet Labs’ dove satellite constellation
To map the spatial extent of the Montecito mudflows that occurred on 9th January 2018, east of Santa Barbara we used optical images acquired by Planet Labs’ dove satellite constellation (Planet Team, 2018). We used a total of eight images, three from before (December 28, 29, 30) and five after (January 10, 11, 12, 13, 18) the mudflow event. To quantify...
February 9, 2018
UAVSAR image of Montecito debris flows.
Extreme winter rains in January 2018 following the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties caused severe debris flows, destroying 73 homes and damaging over 160 structures in the town on Montecito, just east of Santa Barbara. NASA UAVSAR airborne radar platform detected changes caused by the debris flows between two images acquired on November 2, 2017 and February 5, 2018. An enhanced image pair (top left) show disturbed areas in orange. The two image pairs can’t be matched and decorrelate in areas of severe surface disruption from the fire scar and debris flows (top right). In the...
January 9, 2018
Landslide susceptability map from 1/9/18.
Winter rains falling on recently burned ground triggered deadly mudslides near Santa Barbara, California on the 9th of January. The potential for landslides is shown above. This map was generated by the global Landslide Hazard Assessment for Situational Awareness (LHASA) model, a model that combines GPM precipitation data with a global landslide susceptibility map. LHASA gives a broad overview of landslide...
January 10, 2018
GPM IMERG rainfall accumulation 1/8/18 - 1/10/18
GPM IMERG rainfall accumulation 1/8/18 - 1/10/18 . Winter rains falling on recently burned ground triggered deadly mudslides near Santa Barbara, California on the 9th of January. This rainfall analysis was constructed using NASA's Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) data. Precipitation data acquired from satellites in the GPM Constellation during the period from January 8-10, 2018 were used in this rainfall accumulation map. This analysis shows the heavy...