Early warning of debris flow is one of the core contents of disaster prevention and mitigation work for debris flow disasters. There are few early warning methods based on the combination of rainfall threshold and geological environment conditions. In this paper, we presented an early warning method for debris flow based on infinite irrelevance method (IIM) and self-organizing feature mapping (SOFM), and applied it to Liaoning Province, China. The proposed model consisted of three stages. Firstly, eight geological environmental conditions and two rainfall-inducing conditions were selected by analyzing the factors affecting the development of debris flow in the study area, the rainfall threshold for debris flow outbreak was 150 mm. Secondly, the correlation between various factors was analyzed by IIM, which prevented the blindness of parameter selection and improved the prediction accuracy of the model. Finally, the SOFM was employed to predict the test data. Experimental results showed that the IIM-SOFM model had a strong early warning ability. When 25 samples of low- frequency debris flow area were selected, the accuracy rate of IIM-SOFM model with optimized network structure parameters was 100%, which it was obviously superior to rainfall threshold method, BP neural network and competitive neural network. Consequently, it is feasible to use IIM-SOFM model to early warning for debris flow, outperforming traditional machine learning methods.

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