Mudslide Prediction Difficult but Improving, Expert Says

Article ID: 687860

Released: 11-Jan-2018 1:05 PM EST

Source Newsroom: Northwestern University

Expert Pitch
  • Credit: Northwestern University

    Jim Hambleton

Newswise — EVANSTON, Ill. --- Mudslides this week in Southern California have killed at least 17 people, swept away homes and buildings, inundated interstate highways and left rescue workers searching the rubble for missing people. How can we improve prediction and detection of these deadly natural disasters? 

Northwestern University’s Jim Hambleton, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering, is available to discuss aspects of mudslide prevention, prediction and the possibility or difficulty of identifying early warnings for such disasters. 

Quote from Professor Jim Hambleton:

"These disasters are unfortunate and very difficult to predict," Hambleton said. "That said, we are getting better at it all the time. There is interesting science behind the triggers for mudslides and their motion once the slide is initiated. What we really need now are better tools to deal with the variability of the terrain and precipitation, the latter being the cause of events like the one in Southern California this week."

Hambleton can be reached at 847-491-4858 (office), 847-660-4256 (cell) and

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