The most recent mudslide in Snohomish County, Wash. has more than 100 people missing. This is also the seventh mudslide in that state since the beginning of the month.
An especially rainy season has made this season worse than usual.
In the last two weeks, large areas of Washington have seen between eight and 10 inches of rain. All of that rain not only creates copious amounts of mud, but it also adds a lot of weight to the sides of a mountain. Once the top of the mountain becomes top-heavy with mud, it only takes the slightest trigger for a mudslide to start.
During one of these events, the mud can travel at speeds up to 50 mph, and the mud behaves more like a liquid than a solid. That means the mud is traveling down the mountain in the same way floodwaters would behave.
To stay safe in one of these events, the safest thing to do is to treat these like a flood and get out of the way before it reaches you. In this most recent example, everything happened so quickly it wasn’t an option for most.
Follow Storm Shield Meteorologist Jason Meyers via the Storm Shield app on twitter, @StormShieldApp and Facebook. Download the Storm Shield Weather Radio App for your iPhone or Android device and get severe weather alerts wherever you are.