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City of Seattle issues ominous landslide warning to homeowners

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SEATTLE — Kate Johnson has good reason to be afraid.

“I just afraid of what this hill can do,” landslide victim Kate Johnson said Thursday.

She and her family live at the foot of a huge hill on 55th Avenue Southwest in West Seattle, where there has been a previous slide.


In January 2013, a landslide pushed their minivan into their front yard.

“We actually didn’t hear it. We woke up to our neighbor pounding on the door at 4 in the morning saying there had been a landslide. When we came out to look, there had been a swath of the hill that had slid down,” Johnson said.

Johnson fears it’s only a matter of time before it happens again and she’s probably right.

The city of Seattle issued an ominous warning — landslide season is approaching.

“Historically, landslide season begins right around the end of October. This past October has been wetter than normal. We’ve received about 150% of our normal precipitation this month and with the precipitation forecast again of an inch or two over the next few days we are going to cross that threshold and landslides will become more likely,” Seattle Public Utilities spokesman James Rufo-Hill said.

Data pix.

We have seen the destruction landslides can cause.

In Coupeville, a hillside -- here one second, sliding the next.

Seattle's landslide-prone areas have been studied. They are considered to be about 8.4% of the city and they are not just in areas one might think.

Wherever there is a steep hillside, there is the potential for a landslide.

Johnson just hopes her family gets a pass this year.

"I frequently stand at the door with it open just watching for the trees and I know I can't stop them but if I see them coming I just hope that I can get out of the way, get my kids out of the way,” Johnson said.

Emergency managers in Snohomish and Pierce counties are also keeping a close eye on landslide-prone areas in their counties.

While they do their part, they encourage anyone who lives or works in a slide or flood=prone area, keep a lookout and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

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