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landslides

The emergency is over for now at Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Washington. The state says a major, sudden landslide is no longer imminent and Yakima County has lifted its evacuation order and told residents they can move back home near the slide area.

But that’s easier said than done.

The emergency seems to be over for now at the slow-moving landslide at Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Washington. The state has taken down the warning signs and lights on the highway below.

But for some, the drive is still nerve wracking. They’ve coined a phrase for driving quickly past the slide: “Shooting the Gap.”

Starting Thursday, residents who were evacuated for the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide near Yakima, Washington, can go back home. That’s after a new study by a geology firm hired by the state said the slide could take years—or even decades—to come down.

The landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge near Yakima, Washington, is likely going to be a slow one—it could take years or decades to fully come down. That’s the upshot of a new independent geology report commissioned by the state.

The slow-moving landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge in Washington's Yakima Valley points to a larger problem plaguing the region—affordable housing. When residents were told to move away from their homes in the slide area, there were few places to go.

Geology experts with Washington's Department of Natural Resource have quit making predictions for when a slow-moving landslide might break loose. About 20 acres of the hillside are in motion near the community of Union Gap, Washington. 

The Yakama Nation is asking Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency for the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide. It’s a steep slope outside of Yakima that is moving slowly and clings above a small community, a railroad corridor, Interstate 82 and the Yakima River.

The tribes have a lot to lose if it goes down.

The landslide on Rattlesnake Ridge outside of Yakima, Washington, is turning into a slow grind. The land is moving at a constant 1.7 feet per week.

After huge cracks appeared on Rattlesnake Ridge last year, geologists expect a landslide is coming at the mountain near Yakima, Washington. But they are having a hard time nailing down just when it will go.

Elaine Thompson / File / AP Photo

Hillsides in Washington shaped by glaciers often provide stunning natural beauty that makes people want to live near them. They also come with a high risk of landslides, especially when logged.

The state Commissioner of Public Lands took to the slopes Thursday near Olympia to urge legislators to help state regulators minimize the hazards.

Nearly 70 people live on a sliver of land wedged between Interstate 82 and Rattlesnake Ridge in central Washington state. A massive chunk of the ridge is moving, and cracking, and geologists say it will likely cause a landslide.

Near the town of Union Gap in South Central Washington state, a massive chunk of Rattlesnake Ridge is moving ever more quickly.

Geologists say it will likely cause a landslide. And when does come fully down, it could take out roads, infrastructure and in the worst-case scenario, dam up the Yakima River.

Officials in Yakima County, Washington, are strongly urging residents living below a shifting mountainside near Union Gap to evacuate. 



A huge crack that appeared on Rattlesnake Ridge last year is beginning to widen.

Geologists for the state of Oregon are warning of the risk of major landslides in parts of the Columbia River Gorge that were hit by wildfires this year.

A new report released Thursday focuses on areas of the Gorge that are highly susceptible to landslides—which also happen to overlap with some of the areas hit by this year’s wildfires.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

The last few weeks of heavy rains in Western Washington means the possibility of landslides in certain areas is higher. But this is only the beginning of the rainy season.  

If you look at Seattle’s landslide maps, you can pinpoint thousands of properties that are prone to sliding.

More than 200 families in central Sri Lanka were missing Wednesday after massive landslides triggered by torrential rains crushed three villages the night before, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society said.

The slides hit the villages of Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitya in the Aranayake area of Kegalle District.

Citing military spokesman Brig. Jayanath Jayaweera, The Associated Press reports that "16 bodies have already been recovered and about 180 people have been rescued from the enormous piles of mud unleashed at around 5 p.m. [local time] Tuesday."

USGS

The incredible size and speed of the Oso landslide that killed 43 people last March has been a source of wonder, even for the most seasoned geologists investigating it.

Now the U.S. Geological Survey has published its first peer-reviewed study of the event. It focuses on the landslide’s high mobility as a major cause of the destruction.

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. 

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