The June 27, 1995, storm in Madison County, Virginia produced debris flows and floods that devastated a small (130 km2) area of the Blue Ridge in the eastern United States. Although similar debris-flow inducing storm events may return only approximately once every two thousand years to the same given locale, these events affecting a similar small-sized area occur about every three years somewhere in the central and southern Appalachian Mountains. From physical examinations and mapping of debris-flow sources, paths, and deposits in Madison County, we develop methods for identifying areas subject to debris flows using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. We examined the rainfall intensity and duration characteristics of the June 27, 1995, and other storms, in the Blue Ridge of central Virginia, and have defined a minimum threshold necessary to trigger debris flows in granitic rocks. In comparison with thresholds elsewhere, longer and more intense rainfall is necessary to trigger debris flows in the Blue Ridge.
Additional Publication Details
Debris-flow hazards in the blue ridge of Central Virginia