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Area topography plus heavy rainfall can create land and mudslides

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Lansing, Iowa home damaged by mudslide-2013 Lansing, Iowa home damaged by mudslide-2013
Crawford Co. along Highway 35-2013 Crawford Co. along Highway 35-2013
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - In Washington, searchers are still combing through the debris and destruction caused by a massive landslide that left at least 25 people dead and as many as 90 people missing.

With the terrain in the Coulee Region, we've had our share of landslides occur in the past several years. 

In 2007 and 2008 severe storms, flooding, and mudslides affected many people directly in the La Crosse area and caused millions of dollars in damage. Those mudslides were caused by record rainfall. A tropical storm in Texas drew moisture to the Tri-State region.

With rainfall rates of one to two inches per hour, La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford, and Richland counties were affected.

Karl Green of the UW-Extension says the topography in our area plus heavy rainfall can create land or mudslides. Specifically the bluffs and river valleys are what makes our area susceptible.

Green said, "Any time you have the bluffs like we do or topography or terrain like we do and 18 inches or so of rainfall in a 24 hour period, that's going to have a dramatic impact."

Green says events like those in 2007 and 2008 are 1-in-500 year events, but that doesn't mean they will happen only every 500 years.

The 2007 flood caused an estimated $40 million in damage. The 2008 flooding accounted for more than $700 million in damage, making it the most costly natural disaster in Wisconsin history.
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