landslides

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

How to prevent unsafe logging on steep slopes that could cause future landslides will be at the center of discussions in Olympia Wednesday. In the wake of the Oso tragedy, the state’s Forest Practices Board is in the process of updating permitting guidelines. 

Snohomish County Flickr

Three months after a deadly landslide hit the town of Oso, Washington, Snohomish County is again looking at options to tighten land-use policy in slide-prone areas. 

In the wake of the deadly disaster in Oso, many people may be worrying about the potential for mudslides in their neighborhoods.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Though much of the Puget Sound region is "especially vulnerable" to landslides like the one that claimed 14 lives in Snohomish County over the weekend, only a handful of Washington homeowners' insurance policies would cover damages from a similar disaster.

Oran Viriyincy / Flickr

Rail is an increasingly popular option for commuters between Seattle and Everett. But there’s one big drawback: the tracks are plagued by falling mud, rocks, and plant material. Last winter, slides delayed 81 Amtrak trains, and 206 Sounder commuter trains.

Now heavy equipment is clearing debris from the slopes above the tracks and building walls to catch small stuff that slides. They’re also beefing up safety fences, which act like tripwires on the hillsides that automatically stop trains when there is a slide.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Torrents of mud and debris have closed three roads near Wenatchee in central Washington. The landslides were caused by thunderstorms on Sunday, along with wildfire damage.

The mudflows have hampered firefighting efforts on the Mile Post 10 fire, which has grown to 6,000 acres since Friday. Some residents and fire trucks were stranded. 

There's more rain in the forecast tonight and this weekend -- with some real downpours expected Saturday in the fabled "convergence zone" of south Everett.

The rain should arrive after 4pm today, for much of the Puget Sound region, says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington (and KPLU's weekly weather expert).

Could that mean more landslides, like the ones that have derailed trains south of Everett, or pulled away a home on Whidbey Island?

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Residents of a hillside overlooking scenic Puget Sound heard the thunder of a landslide that knocked one home off its foundation, and isolated or threatened more than two dozen others on Whidbey Island, about 50 miles north of Seattle, early Wednesday.

Associated Press

Climate experts have predicted a colder and wetter than normal winter on the way for Washington, thanks to a second year in a row of La Nina’s effects. 

While some people in the area will be happy about a surge in showers, a lot more are probably disappointed or worried.

Lauren Padgett / Bonney Lake-Sumner Patch.com

Rain continues to fall Friday, and forecasters say over the next few days some areas may get 9 inches or more. Combined with past days' heavy rain and warmer temperatures melting mountain snow, some areas King, Pierce and Snohomish counties report minor flooding and road-blocking mudslides.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for most of western Washington. The statement lists areas of main flooding concern, including:

Courtesy USGS

In Seattle, there's a lot of potentially dangerous places where the soil could give way any moment. This is especially true in neighborhoods with good views. 

The City of Seattle publishes a landslide map that makes this abundantly clear.  On the map, landslide-prone areas are marked in red. And, boy, is there a lot of red!

Twitpic/JonRepp

The heavy rains dumped by the Pineapple Express have caused so many landslides, the state is asking your help in keeping track of them. 

The National Weather Service reports 29 major landslides since Friday. 

Washington's Department of Natural Resources reports the slides have damaged roads, houses, and power lines across western Washington, and portions of the Burke-Gilman trail in Seattle. 

It's landslide season

Dec 3, 2010
Washington Department of Ecology

Forecasters have been warning of a wet and snowy La Niña winter in the Northwest.  More than five inches of precipitation fell at SeaTac airport last month.  Wet weather means an increased risk of landslides in the Puget Sound region.  Are you prepared?

The City of Seattle is holding a landslide awareness meeting.

When: Saturday, December 4, from 10 a.m. to noon.