Skip to comments.Officials: About 18 missing in Washington mudslide
Posted on 03/23/2014 12:22:03 PM PDT by Star Traveler
ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) About 18 people are still unaccounted for after a massive mudslide in rural northwest Washington state killed at least three people and forced evacuations because of fears of flooding, authorities said Sunday.
Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said at a news briefing that "we suspect that people are out there, but it's far too dangerous to get responders out there on that mudflow."
Searchers in helicopters will be flying over the area of the square-mile mudslide Sunday to find people who may have been able to get out on their own, as well as look for other signs of life.
Authorities are also trying to determine how to get responders on the ground safely, Hots said, calling it as "like quicksand."
Officials described the deadly slide as "a big wall of mud and debris" that blocked about one mile of State Route 530 near the town of Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle. It was reported about 60 feet deep in some areas.
Several people including an infant were critically injured and as many as 30 houses were destroyed. The slide wiped out one neighborhood, where there were about 28 to 30 homes, authorities said.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Too bad this is Washington state.
The slide blocked the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, which prompted an evacuation notice because water was rising rapidly behind the debris. Authorities worried about severe downstream flooding if water suddenly broke through the debris.
That statement is much more serious than the story states. The Sheriff is in video posted online stating the water behind the debris dam 'was' rising 1.5 inches per 7 minutes. Interestingly, the article says 'forced evacuations', and later says 'evacuation notice', but the Sheriff's Dept. also stated, to almost to the words, "I can't force those that don't want to leave to go, but at least let your family know where you are should something happen." Quite a dichotomy. I do believe he asserted if the dam gave way suddenly there would be a wall of water 10-15 feet high washing down the valley. Ah...I guess I hadn't cleared my cache yet; here's the link with the video
(note: Looking at the post date on the video/story above, if the video was shot around noon, that's over 6 1/2 feet at the stated rate, at this posting, valley-wide...not just in the river channel. Overnight may bring a concurrent & more widespread tragedy)
I’m trying to envision what happened...did a long stretch of mountain side just slip off?
That’s apparently what happened.