Washington Mudslide Kills Three, Destroys Six Homes

Three people have been killed and eight others hurt in a mudslide in Snohomish County, Washington State, reports ABC. The mile long mudslide demolished at least six houses and caused flooding in nearby areas on Saturday morning. The tragedy happened just before 11 am local time when the mudslide, estimated to be 135 feet wide and 180 feet deep hit the 29400 block of State Route 530, near milepost 37.

Five of the injured people were taken to Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington for treatment. One of them has already been released, a hospital spokesperson said while also adding that they were expecting more patients. The injured also included a six-month-old infant. While initial reports confirmed the deaths of two people from the mudslide, another person was declared dead at a hospital.

Meanwhile, the mudslide has resulted in the complete blockade of State Route 530 of Washington near the town of Oso, reports The Seattle Times. The Washington State Department of Transportation hasn’t given an estimate on how long it expects the two-lane rural road to remain closed. The mudslide has also blocked the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, raising concerns about possible flooding. Another town that remains blocked was Darrington. A Snohomish County official has confirmed that people in the area have been asked to prepare to leave at a moment’s notice in case of any emergency. No evacuation order has been declared yet. Officials believe it would take them at least a week to unblock the river which is currently filled with debris, thanks to the mudslide.

State Road 530
A Washington State Patrol photo shows a blocked State Route 530 at Snohomish County

Help has already reached those affected by the mudslide. Those interested in donating food water, blankets and clothing can contact any of the hospitals in the region where The American Red Cross has set up camps. Officials have also setup an evacuation at Post Middle School in Arlington. Meanwhile volunteers from the Washington State Patrol and the Army Corps of Engineers along with local people have joined in the search and rescue operations. Emergency rescue crews from The Washington State Patrol, Department of Transportation, Department of Emergency Management (DEM), US Navy, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the fire department agencies in north Snohomish County were also involved in the rescue following the mudslide.

While the cause of the mudslide in Washington is yet to be ascertained, authorities believe that heavy rains, followed by ground water saturation is the primary culprit. Meanwhile, flash flood and mudslide warnings have been issued in the area through Sunday afternoon by The National Weather Service.

[Images via NYDailyNews, Washington State Patrol]