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Landslide risk heightened as flood watch continues for much of western Washington

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SEATTLE -- With much of western Washington under a flood watch and several more inches of rain on the way, the risk for landslides is high - and a few have already been reported this week.

One of those was on SR-109 in Moclips, about 25 miles north of Hoquiam in Grays Harbor County, where debris and mud fell and closed the highway for several hours. Crews cleared the debris and the road has since reopened.

Landslide risk remains high for a few reasons: the soil is already saturated from high amounts of rainfall; there's more rain on the way (lots of it), and higher elevations are getting rain instead of snow.

Washington state is one of the most landslide-prone states in the nation.

Landslides can be triggered by: prolonged or intense rainfall, earthquakes, water level changes (especially along dams, coastlines, reservoirs and rivers), and human activities like logging or mining.

These are the warning signs to look for when it comes to landslides:

  • Tilting of trees (especially evergreens on slopes)
  • Cracks forming in yard, driveway or sidewalk foundation
  • Sudden difficulty closing doors or windows
  • Sagging utility lines and leaking or broken water pipes

The state Department of Natural Resources offers a digital guide for homeowners who want to protect their homes from mudslides. You can learn more about landslides from DNR here.

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