3:30PM April 2, UPDATE: Authorities say just 18 people are now listed as missing in the deadly Washington state mudslide. That's down from 20 that officials earlier had said still hadn't been accounted for following the March 22 slide that buried a community at Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle.
A county medical examiner has increased the death toll in the mudslide to 29. That's one more victim than had been reported Tuesday, but the number officially identified by the Snohomish County medical examiner's office on Wednesday remains at 22.
President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster for damage caused by a deadly landslide in Washington state. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday that the declaration also provides help for debris removal and emergency measures such as barricades, sand bags and safety personnel. In asking for more federal assistance, Inslee said in his request to Monday that about 30 families need help with housing and other needs. Inslee has said estimated financial losses have reached $10 million.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has sent both people and supplies-to aid in the rescue and recovery effort for the SR 530 Landslide near Oso. DNR has115 staff members there to assist with: Incident command, dispatching, tree falling and law enforcement. To keep the teams safe on the ground, DNR is providing Geological assessments. Geologists are deploying a wide range of instruments to detect any kind of ground movement. After several mostly dry, clear days, rain is forecast to return to Western Washington by the end of the week.
The National Weather Service says rain will begin on the coast Thursday and spread to the Cascades by Friday. A chance of showers continues through the weekend. Forecasters say the dry weather the past couple of days will allow the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River to gradually fall, but rain could cause it to rise again in the slide area. Emergency responders have also said they're concerned about melting mountain snow causing the river to rise in warming spring weather.
April 2, 2014