Rain in Washington state unleashed mudslides on land left bare by wildfires, washing down hillsides, damaging homes and closing highways.
There were no reports of injuries from Thursday night’s mudslides, but specifics were hard to come by because some of the phone and radio towers that serve the remote north-central area of the state were knocked out in summer wildfires.
Multiple slides occurred overnight on two highways that marooned five to 12 vehicles, officials said. Troopers and sheriff’s deputies worked late Thursday night to get the people out.
North of the town of Carlton, mudslides knocked a house off its foundation, pushed an occupied vehicle into a creek, trapped a dozen vehicles between slides and left a mound of dirt and debris 5 feet thick and 145 feet wide blocking Highway 153, The Wenatchee World reported.
“It was freaky,” Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers told the newspaper. “There was so much water, it was amazing.”
There are at least two slides on Highway 20 in the 30-mile stretch east of Twisp to Okanogan, Transportation Department spokesman Jeff Adamson said. That stretch and an 8-mile section of Highway 153 near Twisp remained closed Friday morning.
Another round of thunderstorms was forecast with a flash flood watch through Friday evening, said National Weather Service meteorologist Steven Van Horn.
The Wenatchee World reported that some people whose homes survived the largest wildfire in state history this summer had damage from the mudslides. The Carlton Complex of fires burned more than 400 square miles, and 500 firefighters were still mopping up.
“This flooding is in the areas that were burned,” Adamson said. “It brings down rocks, mud and water.”
More rain and mudslide threats will prolong the highway closures, he said.
“If you’ve got an unstable slope, you just have to pull the crew and wait until tomorrow,” Adamson said.
About an inch of rain fell in an hour at about 7 p.m. Thursday around Twisp, Van Horn said, and the potential for similarly wet storms continued Friday.
Residents say they’re feeling disheartened.
“It’s like another nail in the coffin,” Carlton General Store owner Jeff Lyman told the newspaper. “It’s pretty bad down here right now.”
Maggie Garrett, who lives on Benson Creek, described fences torn down and deep channels carved through driveways and backyards.
“It was literally like a river running through here,” she said. “And now, everything’s 6 inches under mud.”
A man was airlifted to hospital after crashing a plane near South Cave.
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said the light aircraft crashed off Beverley Road following take-off from the Mount Airey airfield, shortly before 6pm on Friday.
Yorkshire Air Ambulance was called to take the man to hospital, while firefighters made the aircraft safe.
Scientists fear that if Nishinoshima continues to grow, now increased to five times its size in May, can generate a branch to sink and generate a tsunami
This is the island of Nishinoshima, located in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo, which quintupled its size at the end of May due to the lava solidified product of the eruption of a volcano that has since late last November spewing magma.
Before the eruption, the remote island measuring 290 square meters, but the area has grown to 1.4 square kilometers and continues to expand due to the emission of lava, according to the latest observations from helicopter.
The volcano spits every day some 200,000 cubic meters of magma, as estimated by a group of scientists from Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute.
If this pace is maintained eruptions in the coming months, some of the new branches of the island formed by solidified lava “could sink and generate a tsunami,” said the newspaper quoted the head of investigations, volcanic geology professor Fukashi Maeno .
The eventual tsunami would reach Chichijima Island, in which more than 2,000 people and the main living Ogasawa archipelago, about 130 kilometers east of Nishinoshima, according to a computer simulation by researchers.
Given this risk, Maeno stressed the need to install anti-tsunami barriers around the island and “continuous monitoring of its evolution.”
The eruption, which took place on 20 November, was the first of a volcano in Japan in four decades.
Subject To Change
Depth: 10 km
Distances: 47km (29mi) SE of Abdanan, Iran
48km (30mi) E of Dehloran, Iran
66km (41mi) WNW of Dezful, Iran
70km (43mi) NW of Shush, Iran
324km (201mi) ESE of Baghdad, Iraq
Subject to change
Depth: 2 km
Distances: 104km (65mi) SSE of Akureyri, Iceland
229km (142mi) ENE of Reykjavik, Iceland
230km (143mi) ENE of Kopavogur, Iceland
233km (145mi) ENE of Hafnarfjordur, Iceland
613km (381mi) NW of Torshavn, Faroe Islands