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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

October 31, 2014 at 7:14 AM

Heavy rains bring increased risk of landslides, SPU warns

Several landslide prone hillside areas between Edmonds and Mukilteo have caused on-going problems with the railroad tracks below them. This photo was taken in May. (Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times, file)

Several landslide-prone hillside areas between Edmonds and Mukilteo have caused ongoing problems with the railroad tracks below them. This photo was taken in May. (Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times, file)

With recent heavy rainfall and more predicted, the area is at a high risk for landslides, a Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) meteorologist warns. With rain late Thursday and Friday morning, Seattle exceeded the official U.S. Geological Survey’s landslide threshold.

“Historically, the end of October is the start of landslide season,” SPU meteorologist James Rufo-Hill said in an email on Thursday.  “Despite the fact that we have yet to experience widespread flooding or soil saturation this season, October is already much wetter than normal, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that landslide season is here.

“SPU neighborhood rain gauges will have recorded nearly two inches in the past three days and nearly four inches over the past two weeks,” Rufo-Hill said.

SPU suggests these pointers for protecting yourself and your property from landslides:

  • If a landslide damages your property and you have an immediate concern for your safety, leave the premises and call 9-1-1. If you see uncontrolled street water in a steep slope area, please call SPU’s Operations Response Center at 206-386-1800.
  • Seattle property owners with structures that may be affected by or endangered by a landslide should contact a geotechnical professional for structural evaluation.
  • For more information about Seattle landslides, please visit: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/aboutus/whoweare/emergencymanagement/
  • Protect yourself and your property by inspecting sloping areas for indications of slope movement (such as cracks in the ground, and newly tilting trees) and erosion.
  • Check your downspouts to make sure they are functioning and routed to a safe location.
  • Be sure that your irrigation system is shut off.
  • Keep fill and yard waste off slopes.

 

Comments | More in General news, Weather Beat | Topics: landslide, rain, Seattle

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