Fox News Weather Center

Slow Landslide Threatens 13 California Homes

A subdivision of 29 homes located in Lakeport, Calif., is being threatened by ground that is moving a few inches to a few feet every day. Thirteen of the homes are in imminent danger.

"Seven of the homes have been red-tagged, meaning do not occupy, and six others are under a voluntary evacuation order," said Kevin Ingram Administration Analyst with the Lake County Administration Office.

The problem started in mid-March, according to Ingram. "We became aware of the ground moving in mid-March while we were doing repairs to water pipes."

He said the ground has been moving a foot here and a foot there ever since. Occasionally, the ground will shift up to 6 feet for a couple of days, Ingram said.

The problem causing the landslide is an excess of ground water. Ingram said when the neighborhood was proposed in the 70s, reports came back that there was high ground water in the area.

Recently, leaks to the water pipes in the neighborhood were found. They were repaired on May 10. "We are still seeing an excess of ground water," said Ingram.

The Lake County Administration Office has requested that Governor Jerry Brown declare an emergency and approve a resource request.

Since the requests, a geotechnical engineer arrived last week to do soil test and ground tests at the site. Ingram said they are waiting for the report. Ingram hopes that a requested hydrologist will be coming out to the site shortly.

"With reports from the geotechnical engineer and hopefully the hydrologist, we may be able to determine the extent of the soil erosion and the cause of the slide," Ingram said.

As a temporary solution for the unaffected homes, Ingram said they have put bypasses of the water, sewer and electric systems in place. "But we need to know the extent of the slide before we can formulate a permanent solution," said Ingram.