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Landslide

NATIONAL
March 31, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
DARRINGTON, Wash. - Before the catastrophic landslide killed at least 24 people and severed the main highway out of town, it took about 30 minutes to drive from this mountain community west to Arlington. Now that State Route 530 is blocked by debris up to 70 feet high - including mangled cars compacted to the size of small refrigerators - it can take three hours. Aside from a lengthy northern detour, intrepid drivers can use Mountain Loop Highway, a harrowing, rutted road that saves an hour but can take at least that much time off your life.
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NATIONAL
March 31, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
ARLINGTON, Wash. - The confirmed death toll from the massive landslide has reached 24, officials announced Monday, and the tally of the missing has dropped to 22. Of the 24 confirmed dead, officials said, 18 have been identified. In addition, searchers found three more victims Monday who are not included in the confirmed tally. During the 10-day rescue and recovery effort, officials decided not to count victims among the confirmed dead unless their remains had been recovered. Also Monday, officials released the names, ages and addresses of the missing.
NATIONAL
March 31, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
DARRINGTON, Wash. - The landslide that killed at least 24 people near this mountain community also severed SR 530, the main highway out of town. Before the March 22 catastrophe, it took about 30 minutes to drive west from Darrington to Arlington. Now, that route is blocked by debris up to 70 feet high, including mangled cars compacted to the size of small refrigerators, officials said Monday. Residents can detour north, lengthening the drive to three hours and boosting their gas costs.
OPINION
March 30, 2014
Re "An area primed for a disaster," March 28 Unlike earthquakes, landslides like the one in Washington state can be detected, preventing loss of life. For decades, movements of large sloped land masses have been measured utilizing inclinometers that quantify the magnitude and geometry of soil movements at different depths. The measurements, combined with numerical modeling, produce a three-dimensional imagery of the subsurface soil mass and its directional movements. To prevent future Hazel Slide disasters, government entities should mandate that developers install monitoring systems that transmit data to the U.S. Geological Survey and state and local survey centers for analysis so any necessary alerts can be issued for evacuations.
NATIONAL
March 30, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
OSO, Wash. -- Inside Oso Community Chapel on Sunday, locals gathered for a service eight days after a devastating landslide killed at least 18 people, including a 4-month-old girl and her grandmother. There were tears and despair but also songs and joy for those saved from the disaster. Thirty people remain missing. "We pray for strength and endurance for all those working on the rescues," Tim Alskog said. He wore one of the green printed "Oso Strong" T-shirts that have become a common sight around town.
NATIONAL
March 30, 2014 | By Paresh Dave and Molly Hennessy-Fiske
ARLINGTON, Wash. -- Rain showers forecast for Sunday at the scene of the state's deadly landslide again were expected to hamper the efforts of rescuers digging through the contaminated slurry of debris. Ponds formed in "the pile," forcing crews to "de-water" areas to resume searching, Snohomish County officials said. In the tangle of timber, septic tank fluid and housing materials, rescuers have found music records, wallets, gun safes and ATVs. Hundreds of photographs salvaged from the mud have been assembled on a table, shielded from the rain by a white tent.
NATIONAL
March 27, 2014 | By Paresh Dave and Molly Hennessy-Fiske
ARLINGTON, Wash. - The Stillaguamish River and the Hazel Slide have been rivals for decades. The river eats away at the clay and sand hillside to the north of the snaking river. Weakened by the erosion, the hill's foot lacks the strength to fight the pull of gravity. Rain and logging add to the river's offense. In this deep-seated recess, landslides are inevitable. They send sediment surging into the river, deforming it for years until the cycle repeats. DOCUMENTS: Warnings about landslides in Snohomish County This ongoing battle exploded Saturday in a catastrophic geological event as a wall of mud, trees and rocks slammed into the river below, blocking the flow.
NATIONAL
March 26, 2014 | By Paresh Dave and Molly Hennessy-Fiske
ARLINGTON, Wash. -- Residents along the Stillaguamish River had felt protected from small landslides during the past eight years because Snohomish County spent millions of dollars shoring up the area after a mudslide in 2006, the county's Emergency Management Director John Pennington said Wednesday. But the landslide that struck last Saturday was "large" and "catastrophic,” Pennington said at a news conference.  The mudslide tore through 49 homes. At least 16 people have been confirmed dead and as many as 176 people are missing.
NATIONAL
March 25, 2014 | By Maria L. La Ganga and Matt Pearce
ARLINGTON, Wash. - First, there was a roar. Then the trees began to twist. The last thought Gary "Mac" McPherson had before blacking out was that a tornado had struck the Stillaguamish Valley. The 81-year-old McPherson and his wife, Linda, 69, had been spending the sun-filled Saturday morning side by side, reading the Everett Herald and sipping caffeine - Diet Coke for her, coffee for him - when the landslide slammed into the home they had shared for most of their 46-year marriage.
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