Mudslides destroy 12 homes on Southern California’s Palos Verdes peninsula

ROLLING HILLS ESTATE, Calif. (AP) — A landslide destroyed a luxury home on Southern California’s Palos Verdes peninsula Monday, leaving crumbling roofs, shattered walls, and slanting chimneys and decks hanging over adjoining canyons. left in a jumbled state.

Landslides in the Rolling Hills Estate of Los Angeles County began on Saturday, cracking buildings and the ground. Twelve houses were tagged red as unsafe and residents were given only 20 minutes to evacuate.

The pace of destruction increased over the weekend and into Monday.

“Things are moving fast,” said Janice Hahn, chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, who represents the region. “Indeed, when you’re there, you hear crackling, crackling, crackling as each house moves and moves.”

Initially, all of the red-tagged homes were thought to be slipping, but assistant city manager Alexa Davis said on Monday afternoon that 10 were actively moving. Davis said in an email that 16 more people were being monitored but no evacuation was required.

Richard Vogel/Associated Press

A patio partially destroyed by ground motion is seen at Rolling Hills Estate on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Southern California, California, Monday, July 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

The cause of the landslide was unknown. But there were cracks between the houses, raising suspicions that this winter’s heavy rains had something to do with it, Hahn said.

“We won’t know until the geologists and soil experts actually do a postmortem and tell us what happened,” Hahn said. “But because of that fissure, it was initially thought to be caused by last year’s heavy rains and groundwater. But we don’t know.”

Hahn said many displaced people, including those who moved two months ago after escrow ended, were unsure whether they had insurance for such losses. County assessors were to meet with residents and tell them they could apply for a property tax exemption.

“Our hearts go out to these people. On Saturday night, we gave them 20 minutes to evacuate and pick up their belongings,” Hahn said. I didn’t understand.”

The Palos Verdes Peninsula, which has experienced damaging landslides in the past, rises high above the Pacific Ocean on the south coast of the county, offering residents spectacular views of the ocean and Los Angeles.

A landslide that began in 1956 destroyed 140 homes in the Portuguese Bend neighborhood of Rancho Palos Verdes and continues to dislodge debris. This landslide coincided with the construction of a road through the area over an ancient landslide.

Among other notable soil movements on the peninsula, a 2011 landslide rocked White Point in Los Angeles’ San Pedro neighborhood, months after engineers began noticing cracks and fenced off the area for study. The sea road on a nearby cliff was cut off.

Southern California’s complex topography contributes to the landslides, according to the association’s brief. U.S. Geological Survey and California Geological Survey.

Earthquakes, steep slopes, loose sedimentary soils, and water seeping into the ground after heavy rains are among the many potential factors, the report said.

Anthropogenic landslide drivers include construction without proper slope preparation, alteration of drainage patterns, and disturbance of old landslides. Mudslides destroy 12 homes on Southern California’s Palos Verdes peninsula

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