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April 16, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Temporary berm in slide area nearly done; death toll rises to 39

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has nearly completed construction on the berm to allow workers to pump river water out of the Snohomish County mudslide, making it safe to continue the search for the missing. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

The Army Corps of Engineers has nearly finished construction on a berm designed to allow workers to pump river water out of the mudslide area. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has shifted its construction efforts to raising the temporary berm within the Oso mudslide area an additional foot before heavy rainfall forecast for later this week.

Snohomish County confirmed 39 fatalities today, with 36 identified. The number of missing has dropped to six.

Construction of the berm’s length is finished, but the additional height is expected to reduce potential flooding risks, according to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. The temporary berm is located near mile post 37 at C Post Road and is used to help recovery workers pump water out of a search area, reduce flood impacts and prevent near-term flooding of Highway 530 under normal spring runoff conditions.

The main focus on construction now is to get the berm above the predicted rainfall peak, Doug Weber, Seattle District Emergency Management Branch Chief, said in a news release. Construction began a week ago on the berm, which is 3,000 linear feet, made from 20,000 tons of rock, gravel and earthen materials.

Comments | More in General news | Topics: berm, Oso mudslide

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