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The landslide could happen next Sunday at Rattlesnake Ridge

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State geologists studying the risk of landslides in the Rattlesnake Ridge area of ​​Yakima County estimate that an "event" could occur next Sunday.

"Based on monitoring data, geologists and engineers who are studying landslide estimate that an event will occur between January 14 and February 28, 2018," the Yakima Valley Emergency Management Office published in Facebook on Sunday.

"What will happen and when?" The honest answer is that nobody knows with certainty, "There are several possibilities."

According to geologists from the Department of Natural Resources in Washington, according to the data, the most likely scenario is that the landslide will continue to move slowly to the south, where it will fall into a quarry well and accumulate.

Some rocks are expected to fall and reach the nearby Thorp Road, but not the I-82 or the Yakima River.

They say that the "least likely scenarios" are that the landslide moves beyond the quarry and damages the houses or runs out I-82. "A landslide that moves westward and blocks I-82 and the Yakima River is extremely unlikely."

Geologists at the Washington Department of Natural Resources who study Yakima & # 39; s Rattlesnake Ridge on Sunday posted a map of potential landslide hazards in the area. (Photo: Yakima Valley Emergency Management Office)

A map of the geological monitoring equipment network of the Washington Department of Natural Resources deployed at Rattlesnake Ridge to track changes and provide instant data to incident managers . (Photo: Washington Department of Natural Resources)

Inslee Visits Rattlesnake Ridge

Governor Jay Inslee visited the Rattlesnake Ridge area on Sunday to evaluate the area and meet with local emergency management officials.

"The multiple geologists that have reviewed that all have the same conclusion at the moment, and that is that the risk of a catastrophic landslide activity that could represent a danger to life is a low risk," said Inslee. "However, if that happened – although it is low risk – the nature of the landslide could be very worrying for people, both residents and people who travel I-82."

Several geologists with multiple state agencies They have inspected the area and provided the preliminary data. Dozens of data collection points have been established around the slide, providing geologists with the data needed to monitor the movement of the land and its risk.

Inslee said that experts are evaluating the possibility of having additional monitoring or analysis of the area.

"In the next few days, we will probably hire a third party, an independent consultant who would work for the state of Washington for the multiple agencies involved," Inslee said. "We want to do that to make sure we have the highest degree of confidence in assessing the nature of this risk."

More than 50 local, state and federal agencies are working together on the incident, according to the Yakima Valley Office. Emergency management.

More people were packing and evacuating on Friday night due to concerns about landslides.

Tomas Guzman took his truck to a friend's house, right next to Thorp Road. They worked for four hours to pack the family of three and escape from the Rattlesnake Ridge area.

"We do not want to wait until the last minute," Guzmán said.

Yakima County Emergency Office Management has asked about 50 people living near Thorp Road to evacuate, and so far more than 80 percent have left.

For now, many in the community have seen aerial video showing a long crack in Rattlesnake Ridge. The movement was first noticed in October.

Meagan Lott, WSDOT spokesperson says that the earth slips 1.4 feet each week.

The Office of Emergency Management of Yakima County estimates that 8 million tons of earth could slip within a month. [19659003] Lott said when it comes to a landslide: "It's not about if, but about when." He added that there is a better possible scenario.

"What they tell us is that the material that is on top of Thorp Road will most likely go to the site of the well below and stabilize itself," he said.

But Lott acknowledged that it is possible that the landslide may move toward the houses and interstate 82. Cargo containers loaded with concrete barriers are installed along Thorp Road. WSDOT says it will not stop a landslide. However, the container chain is being used to block rocks and debris that fall from I-82.

"This morning we were lowered by a rock and landed on Thorp Road, which is the county road that is currently closed at the moment, and was about the size of a baseball," said Lott.

If activity increases and more rocks begin to fall, WSDOT could close I-82. On a typical day, about 30,000 vehicles travel the Interstate stretch near Thorp Road. If it has to be closed, WSDOT says the drivers would have a detour of 15 miles.

Copyright 2017 KING

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