Officials Sort Out Number of Missing From WA Mudslide - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Officials Sort Out Number of Missing From WA Mudslide

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Authorities say they expect to soon have an updated number of the people believed missing following a massive, deadly Washington state landslide.
 
Officials are working off a list of 176 people unaccounted for, though some names are thought to be duplicates, and the number should decrease. Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington says they'll have a revised figure later Wednesday.
 
Two additional bodies were recovered Tuesday, while eight more were located in the debris field from Saturday's slide 55 miles northeast of Seattle. That brings the likely death toll to 24, though authorities are keeping the official toll at 16 until the eight other bodies are recovered.

A 2010 report commissioned by Snohomish County to comply with a federal law warned that neighborhoods along the Stillaguamish River were among the highest-risk areas, The Seattle Times reported.
 
The hillside that collapsed Saturday outside of the community of Oso was one highlighted as particularly dangerous, said the report by California-based engineering and architecture firm Tetra Tech.
 
"For someone to say that this plan did not warn that this was a risk is a falsity," said report author and Tetra Tech program manager Rob Flaner.
 
A 1999 report by geomorphologist Daniel Miller, although not about housing, raises questions about why residents were allowed to build homes in the area and whether officials had taken proper precautions.
 
"I knew it would fail catastrophically in a large-magnitude event," though not when it would happen, said Miller, who was hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do the study. "I was not surprised."
 
A year later, the U.S. Army Corps of engineers warned in another study that lives would be at risk if the hillside collapsed, The Daily Herald of Everett reported.
 
Residents and county officials were focused on flood prevention, even after a 2006 landslide that did not reach any homes.
 
"We were just trying to stabilize the river so we could save the community from additional flooding," said Steve Thomsen, the county's public works director.
 
Snohomish County Emergency Department director John Pennington said local authorities were vigilant about warning the public of landslide dangers, and homeowners "were very aware of the slide potential."
 
In fact, the area has long been known as the "Hazel Landslide" because of landslides over the past half-century. The last major one before Saturday's disaster was in 2006. (AP)

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