Shallow landsliding in the Seattle, Washington, area, has caused the occasional loss of human life and millions of dollars in damage to property. The effective management of the hazzard requires an understanding of the rainfall conditions that result in landslides. We present an empirical approach to quantify the antecedent moisture conditions and rainstorm intensity and duration that have triggered shallow landsliding using 25 years of hourly rainfull data and a complementary record of landslide occurrence. Our approach combines a simple water balance to estimate the antecedent moisture conditions of hillslope materials and a rainfall intensity-duration threshold to identify periods when shallow landsliding can be expected. The water balance is calibrated with field-monitoring data and combined with the rainfall intensity-duration threshold using a decision tree. Results are cast in terms of a hypothetical landslide warning system. Two widespread landslide events are correctly identified by the warning scheme; however, it is less accurate for more isolated landsliding. Copyright ?? 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Rainfall characteristics for shallow landsliding in Seattle, Washington, USA