Weather Working Against Deadly Landslide Responders

Mar 28, 2014

Heavy rain in Friday’s forecast threatens to hinder ongoing search and recovery operations at the side of the catastrophic mudslide near Oso.

Mother Nature is just not cooperating with the hundreds of searchers and heavy equipment operators at the scene of Saturday’s deadly landslide.

“The rain, the wind and weather is basically working against us,” said local fire chief Travis Hots. “[We have] 100-percent chance of rain. We’re looking at wind [blowing at] 20 mph in places on the site. That is going to further complicate things for our responders.”

Hots said this new rain stalls or reverses the draining or drying out of the square mile of mud, muck and debris.

“We’ve got a hard day ahead of us,” he said.

The fire chief also said additional geologists have been brought in to assess the stability of the landslide zone in light of the additional rain. Hots said as of Friday morning, incident managers believed the site is safe to work.

The official death count still stands at 17, though searchers have located at least nine additional bodies in recent days in addition to that toll. Authorities on Thursday said the public should brace for a substantial spike to the number of fatalities.