Mudslide in Index leaves residents stranded

INDEX -- The mudslide outside the town of Index started about 600 feet up a hillside and when it came down, it came down hard and fast.  It brought down a lot of mud and, of course, big trees that ended up on power lines. People couldn't reach their homes, and even if they could there was no electricity.

On Wednesday night, Mount Index River Road looked a lot more like a construction site than a main thoroughfare.

After the slide heavy equipment had to be brought in for the big job of clearing away mud, trees and rocks.

After a long day's work, Kai Marquis has a long hike in front of her just to get home -- not at all the way had she planned to spend her evening.

"There's only one way in and one way out, so it's an enormous inconvenience. It looks like a real battl field out here,” Marquis said.

The ground started to slide late Tuesday night and continued on and off throughout the day Wednesday.

Weather seems to have caused the slide.

“Over several weeks there's probably been a lot of rain that happened here and then we had the big freeze and as that freeze happens it expands that water that's in the ground and our theory is that when it thawed it gave way,” Mount Index Riverside Community Club spokesman Bill Stehl said.

It gave way in a big way.

It covered Mount Index River Road with mud, trees and other debris nearly five feet deep.

"Twenty trees across the road that had to be removed; power lines obviously down, telephone lines down,” Stehl said.

With no power, Ron Sorkness managed to get into town Wednesday morning to get fuel for his generator.

Unfortunately, the slide and downed trees delayed the return trip.

Just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, crews managed to get one lane open to traffic.

Not a moment too soon for Sorkness.

"It's been 7, 8, 9 hours I guess without being able to get to home,” Sorkness said.

Now the PUD has been working to restore power here but the homeowners association is responsible for the slide and the road and they are working to get it cleared away. They expect that it could cost $25,000.

Snohomish PUD has scheduled an outage for Thursday while crews finish up the cleanup.