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Rainy Weather Working Against Landslide Responders

Heavy rain in the forecast for Friday is threatening to hinder ongoing search and recovery operations from the catastrophic mudslide near Oso in Snohomish County.

Mother Nature is just not cooperating with the hundreds of searchers and heavy equipment operators at the scene of Saturday’s deadly landslide.

“The rain, the wind and weather is basically working against us," says Travis Hots, the local fire chief. "A 100 percent chance of rain. We’re looking at wind 20 mph in places on the site. That is going to further complicate things for our responders.”

Hots says this new rain stalls or reverses the draining or drying out of the square mile of mud, muck and debris.

“We’ve got a hard day ahead of us.”

The fire chief also said additional geologists have been brought in to assess the stability of the landslide zone in light of the additional rain. Hots says at this time, incident managers believe the site is safe to work.

After bracing the community to anticipate a substantial spike in the number of fatalities, emergency managers put off updating the death toll from the catastrophic mudslide. The official death count still stands at 17, though searchers have located at least nine additional bodies in recent days that are not part of that toll.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network