PORTLAND - With the rain just starting to fall you wouldn't necessarily expect any landslides yet, but experts say it is landslide season and a critical time when it comes to protecting your home and property.
Last March, Jim Allan watched helplessly as the slope behind his West Hills home slid away. The landslide was the result of an underground spring and overly saturated soil.
“I did see a little crack probably about a week before and I thought well that’s not a good sign,” recalled Allan.
PSU Geology Professor and landslide expert Scott Burns says, without question, once the ground gets saturated, homeowners need to look for signs of potential landslides.
“If you've got cracks in the ground and you're on the side of a hill you need to get in touch with a professional that can help you,” said Burns.
But the geologist also says the best way to prevent a slide is to act now before the heavy rain arrives.
“If you're proactive, you will prevent it,” Burns said.
Burns says there are three things homeowners should do:
The next time it rains check your gutters to make sure they're clear and functioning right. Secondly, check for broken pipes or any signs of leaks. And third, make sure the rain is being properly funneled off patios, porches and driveways.
“What you don’t want to do is concentrate the water on the slopes because that can lead to a landslide,” said Burns.
He added that in the next couple of weeks leaves will start falling, clogging up drains, leaving water no other place to go than onto the slopes.
It's also important to remember that most standard homeowner's insurance policies do not cover landslides.