Scientist warned of 'catastrophic' WA slide

Scientist warned of 'catastrophic' WA slide

Credit: KING

Scenes of the damage from landslide in Oso on SR 530 that blocked the Stillaguamish River on March 24, 2014.

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by Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on March 25, 2014 at 7:34 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 25 at 12:04 PM

SEATTLE  -- A scientist who documented the landslide conditions on a Washington hill that buckled last weekend in a massive mudslide warned in a 1999 report filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of "the potential for a large catastrophic failure."

Daniel J. Miller and his wife, Lynne Rodgers Miller, authored the report..

“We’ve known it would happen at some point,” he told the SeattleTimes on Monday. “We just didn’t know when.”

Watch a video report by the Seattle Times

Daniel Miller studies land formations and their changes. He also documented the hill's landslide conditions in a 1997 report for the Washington Department of Ecology and the Tulalip Tribes.

He says he returned to the Snohomish County hill in 2006 within weeks of a landslide that plugged the north fork of the Stillaguamish River and was startled to see new homes being built.

Snohomish County Executive John Lovick and Public Works Director Steve Thomsen said Monday night they were not aware of the 1999 report. Thomsen says a slide of this magnitude is "very difficult to predict."

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