Landslide threat increasing as powerful storm expected by weekend

DES MOINES, Wash. - Drier weather on Wednesday helped to lessen the landslide threat across Western Washington, but another system will be moving in later in the week, increasing the threat by Friday.

Crews in Des Moines worked on a landslide that shut down Woodmont Beach Road South on December 20. The city hopes to have it reopened in two to four weeks.

Fred Wentz lives just feet away from the slide. He says he's most concerned when the forecast calls for heavy rain and high winds.

"There have been minor slides but not like this recent one. My concerns are just basically weather. I cringe every time they say heavy rain and high winds. It's all I worry about," said Wentz.

Early Tuesday, two mudslides in Grays Harbor shut down SR 109. There is no word when that will reopen. Also Tuesday, a landslide on the tracks between Tacoma and Lacey forced Amtrak to temporarily stop service from Seattle to Portland. Amtrak says regular train service will resume Thursday at 8am.

Geologist Kate Mickelson with the Washington Geological Survey says this is the time of year for landslides and there are warning signs homeowners can look out for.

"Things to look for are new or developing cracks or bulges in the ground, sagging or taut utility lines near their homes. Also leaning telephone poles and tilting trees. Homeowners can also look for broken or leaking utilities on their properties such as water septic sewer lines. Within their homes, if they see growing cracks in their walls, ceilings, or foundation, that can be an indicator of slope movement," said Mickelson.