Slide damages 3 Whidbey Island houses
Heavy rains undermined a bluff above the homes north of Possession Beach, causing the slide Wednesday afternoon.
"The ground is saturated," South Whidbey Fire District deputy chief Mike Cotton said. "Mother Nature is going to do what she is going to do."
The houses were among a small cluster of homes that have no access by vehicle. Instead, they are reached by walking a long stretch of beach at low tide, Cotton said. Most are used as summer homes.
No one was in the houses, but people living nearby could hear the slide, Cotton said.
The homeowners face some extensive cleanup, and the home pushed off its foundation could be a total loss, officials said.
One of the homes had a tree on top of its roof, but it didn't appear to have caused extensive damage.
Power to the area was cut off because of the potential danger, Cotton said.
Eric Brooks, deputy director for the Island County Department of Emergency Management, said an estimated 300 yards of dirt slid down the bluff.
The rain and terrain make for a frequent threat in winter.
"There have been some pretty big scares from other slides that have happened over the years," Brooks said.
Earlier Wednesday, there was another slide across Columbia Beach Drive, a quarter-mile south of the Clinton state ferry dock. County crews were able to clean it up and reopen the road, Cotton said.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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