On September 16, 2004 the remnants of Hurricane Ivan dumped heavy rain on Macon County, North Carolina, triggering a debris slide near the top of Fishhawk Mountain at an elevation of 4,420 ft around 10:10 PM. This slide quickly mobilized into a debris flow that traveled approximately 2.25 miles and dropped 2,000 ft colliding with the Peeks Creek community and ultimately the Cullasaja River. Along its path, calculated estimates yield a maximum velocity of 33.2 miles per hour (mph) and a conservative discharge estimate of 45,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). The resulting debris flow destroyed fifteen homes in the downstream community adjacent to Peeks Creek and killed five people.
The North Carolina Geological Survey (NCGS) is investigating the causes and effects of the Peeks Creek debris flow. Along with this study, countywide, landslide hazards maps have been produced with funding allocated through the Hurricane Recovery Act of 2005. This map series includes maps that show where landslides have happened in the past, where shallow, translational failure are likely to initiate in the future, and downslope locations that could be affected by these failures. By Rebecca Latham, Rick Wooten, Anne Witt, Ken Gillon, Tommy Douglas, Stephen Fuemmeler, Jennifer Bauer, and Scott Brame, 2007. 35 pages.