Saturday 12 December 2015

Homes evacuated after landslide on Mercer Island, Washington State.

Several houses have been evacuated after a landslide on Mercer Island in Washington State on the evening of Tuesday 8 December 2015. One home has been partially undermined by the event, with debris falling onto a property bellow, neighbouring properties have also been evacuated as a precaution. The incident happened amid heavy rainfall that has caused flooding across parts of Washington and Oregon States. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall. 

 The scene of the 8 December 2015 Mercer Island landslide. KOMO News Network.

The flooding may be linked to the El Niño weather system currently affecting the Pacific Ocean, a phenomenon that typically brings unseasonably warm weather to the northwest United States, starting around the beginning of December, although this year parts of the US have been suffering floods since the middle of October. The relationship between the two events is difficult to determine; more storms would be expected in the east Pacific late in the year during El Niño periods, but it is not possible to say that any particular storm was directly caused by the weather pattern.

 Predicted changes to North American weather patterns during an El Niño event. NWS/NCEP Climate Prediction Center/NOAA.

See also... homes evacuated after landslide in Des Moines, Washington State.                       Three homes have been evacuated following a landslide close to the Salt Water State Park in Des Moines in King County, Washington State, on Friday 27 March 2015. The event started at about 8.30 am and proceeded... evacuated after landslide causes flooding in Kent County, Washington.          Six homes have temporarily been evacuated after a landslide partially blocked the Cedar River in Mapple Valley, Kent County, Washington State, at about... least three people dead following Washington State landslide.                        Three people are known to have died, and several more are in critical conditions, following a landslide near the town of Oso in Snohomish County in Washington State, about 55 km north of Seattle, that occurred...

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