Washington State: a "heaving, moving mass"

A massive landslide that closed a section of State Route 410, destroyed at least two homes, blocked and changed the flow of the Naches River

Excerpts (be sure to check out the photo link below):

Calling it a "rotational landslide," Washington State Patrol Sgt. Tom Foster said the blockage appears to be a result of earth shifting under the surface of the hillside -- and not a classic landslide.

Soil from the slide area continued to slough off the hillside late Sunday afternoon, according to Ty Brown, a lieutenant with the Nile Fire Department and one of the incident commanders at the scene.

"Our main concern is the river is changing its own channel, trying to find its own way around the slide. We are dealing with flooding in that area," Brown said. "Our next problem is to try to take care of the folks who live up the valley. They aren't going to have power for some time."


Among those evacuated were 12 boys who live at the Flying H Ranch, a Christian residential program for troubled boys, situated south of the Nile Loop Road off State Route 410.

Chris Rodriguez, a counselor at the ranch, described the slide: "It was like a knife had cut through the hill and moved everything to the side."

Some ranch employees who stayed behind after the evacuation reported some ranch buildings being threatened by water from the Naches River.

As the boys unloaded from a van at Naches Valley High School, a dazed-looking family wandered into the parking lot.

"Our house got hit," said a woman in the family, before making her way into the school to speak with American Red Cross volunteers. "We knew we were going to get hit -- we're right up against the hill."


Transportation officials closed a 47-mile stretch of State Route 410 -- from Mount Rainier National Park's Lake Tipsoo to its junction with U.S. Highway 12 at the Y west of Naches.

Emergency personnel described the landslide as a "heaving, moving mass" that pushed chunks of earth and pavement into the Naches River, damming its width.

Comment: DOT photos ...

Washington State Department of Transportation Photo Stream

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