A mudflow (also called a mudslide) can change geographical areas, destroy homes and kill people. Mudslides are a subcategory of landslides and can happen anywhere at any time when earth, rock and other debris become saturated with water.
Ready.gov warns that homeowners should stay aware of changes in and around their home and on surrounding property that could be caused by mismanagement or modification of land, especially in coastal, mountain and canyon areas. High levels of groundwater in an area with cracked bedrock can trigger soil movement. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, heavy rains and a rapid spring thaw after heavy snowfall can effect real estate stability.
Mudflows can occur quickly and strike at avalanche speeds without warning. Ready.gov suggests a number of proactive steps that offer some protection from the effects of a mudflow. Start by preparing an emergency kit and creating a family communication plan. Follow established land-use procedures, leaving appropriate space between buildings and natural erosion valleys, steep slopes and mountain edges. Seek preventative advice and use flexible pipe fittings that resist breakage to help avoid disaster. Planting ground cover and building retaining walls can change destructive water paths, but it's important not to direct harm toward a neighbor's property.