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What is the difference between a landslide advisory, watch, and warning?

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Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Brian Campbell. Today's question is ...

What is the difference between a landslide advisory, watch, and warning?

An advisory is a general statement about the potential of landslide activity in a given region relative to developing rainfall predictions. An advisory may include general statements about rainfall conditions that can lead to debris-flow activity, and list precautions to be taken in the event of heavy rainfall.

A watch means that landslide-activity will be possible, but is not imminent. People in, or planning to travel through, a watch area should check preparedness and stay informed about developing weather patterns.

Warnings indicate that landslide activity is presently occurring and extreme caution should be taken.

Watches and warnings may be issued for discrete areas, and include advice about contacting an area's local emergency centers. Watches and warnings for rainfall-induced debris flows are weather dependent and will closely track National Weather Service watches and warnings for flash flooding.

And now you know.  Join us again every week for a new CoreFact.  For other CoreFacts, or for CoreCast, our in-depth science podcast, go to  If you'd like to have a question featured on our show, give us an e-mail at or a phone call at 703-648-5600.  Remember, long distance fees do apply.

CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

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Title: What is the difference between a landslide advisory, watch, and warning?

Description: Listen to hear the answer.


Date Recorded: 12/3/2008

Usage: This audio file is public domain/of free use unless otherwise stated. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this audio.

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Tags: 2008 Dec hazards landslides



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