SEATTLE -- Rain and forecast through Saturday will make for a messy search and recovery effort at the Oso mudslide, and will increase soil instability in the area, according to the National Weather Service.
But a more coordinated effort and more personnel will help search and rescue crews make progress Wednesday, despite the weather issues, Snohomish County emergency manager John Pennington said Wednesday.
There have been 16 confirmed deaths in the slide, and an additional eight bodies were reportedly located, but that was not confirmed, Pennington said. The number reported missing was still at 176.
"We're making good progress," Snohomish Co. Sheriff Ty Trenary added. "Because of our community members, who've been working tirelessly since this happened."
Pennington said the federal government's emergency declaration has also made a big impact, allowing the National Guard to get to work immediately.
"They can come in unimpeded, without a lot of bureaucracy, and that's a very good thing for us," he said.
Pennington added that help has poured in, in the form of donations and other support. The local Home Depot and Costco stores have offered unlimited resources and the Snohomish County United Way has donated more than $75,000.
"We are humbled beyond belief in this county," he said, getting choked up for a moment before he continued. "We're very grateful."
Donation centers will be open in Darrington and Arlington Wednesday, and a support hotline for anyone coping with grief was available at 1-800-584-3578.
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County spokesman John Lovick said Wednesday the tiny town of Oso was relatively unknown before this tragedy, but that outside communities have really reached out to help.
"Today, the world knows where Oso is," said county spokesman John Lovick Wednesday. "We are not just a small community, we are a large family."