Third round of heavy rain raises potential for mudslides
The mudslide that hit an Edmonds home Thursday is a reminder of what can happen during a downpour in Western Washington. And more rain is expected for the weekend.
Rainfall the last two days in Seattle has been more than an inch, bringing the monthly total to near the entire amount typical for the month of October.
Heavy rain is expected Saturday, with another inch or more expected to fall in the lowlands.
In February, a wall of mud along Highland Parkway West in West Seattle came rolling down a hill, bringing down trees and toppling power lines.
The slide caused a mess and headaches for commuters. Hundreds of people also lost power.
Though it’s something that happens every year as the rainy season starts, this question is — can we predict it?
A city official in Edmonds says it’s difficult to tell and the area where the mudslide occurred was known to neighbors as mudslide-prone.
One geologist said that with more rain, people have to be prepared for what could happen.
“What we see in terms of this atmospheric river that we are experiencing now is an intense set of rainfall that’s a recipe for kicking off a lot of landslides. When it happens during the year can matter. Once the ground wets up, you sort of soak the sponge and you get a big storm on top of that it can contribute to sliding,” said University of Washington Geomorphology Professor David Montgomery.
King County has an interactive mapping tool that’s charted past landslides and areas that are at risk. It’s another way people can pinpoint dangerous spots.