Help Oso Mudslide Victims


Oso Mudslide. Marcus Yam, The Seattle Times.

“It’s much worse than everyone’s been saying,” said the firefighter, who did not want to be named. “The slide is about a mile wide. Entire neighborhoods are just gone. When the slide hit the river, it was like a tsunami.” -From the Seattle Times

For updates: 


Snohomish County Red Cross Twitter page

Snohomish County Sheriff News Flash page

Snohomish County Twitter page

Governor’s Oso Mudslide Resources Page

County information about reunification, evacuation and shelters: 425-388-5088

Yesterday, March 22nd, 2014, a mudslide tore through multiple homes near Oso, Washington, blocking Highway 530 and damming up the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. Right now on Sunday morning, March 23rd, three people have died, eight have been hospitalized, 18 are still missing, and as of late last night there were cries for help coming from the debris, which was shifting and creaking. 

Update, 3/26/14: Authorities say 25 people have lost their lives and about 90 are missing. 

Authorities have been using thermal imaging cameras to try and find the buried survivors. Because the mud is so deep and conditions are quicksand-like, rescuers haven’t been able to reach them yet. Residents who live in the flood plain from Oso west to Stanwood have been encouraged to get to higher ground immediately (Snohomish County lifted this order midday 3/23, but some are saying to stay away from the river regardless in case of a flash flood). Governor Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency, partially because of the dangers that still exist. 

Oso (Spanish for bear) is a town that many Seattleites couldn’t point out on a map if you asked them, yet many people in that area commute to larger cities like Everett and Seattle to work. It’s located on Highway 530 between Arlington and Darrington about 60 miles northeast of Seattle. If you’ve ever cut through Arlington to get to the North Cascades Highway, one of the most beautiful routes in the world, you’ve gone through Oso. Given that this story has made international news, a lot of people now know where Oso is– and therefore can help.

Oso, WA
From Google Maps

At times like this it’s natural to gawk and feel horrified, especially because there are still fellow human beings imprisoned inside this marshy monstrosity. There is ALWAYS something you can do, though– pray. No one should every feel completely helpless because our prayers open windows into these situations. A six month-old baby boy rescued from the slide is fighting for his life at Harborview, emergency personnel are battling potentially fatal conditions to save lives, and numerous people, pets, and properties could be affected by subsequent flooding.

You can also be an answer to prayer by giving– the Snohomish County Red Cross is encouraging cash donations that can be used in this disaster, which you can give here. Or you can text Redcross to 90999 to donate $10.

According to The Herald, the City of Arlington is providing information on what donations are needed. Their Facebook page says the Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington is serving as a drop-off point for donations, but as of 2 P.M. 3/23/14, the hospital said they are accepting cash donations only.The Food Pavilion in Arlington is accepting food and cash donations. The Everett Animal Shelter is providing help to domestic animals.

I would strongly suggest asking the City of Arlington or the Red Cross what’s actually needed before making the trip. For a disaster like this, efforts need to be concentrated where they are most needed. Due to well-meaning but uninformed donations, they might wind up with too many shoes but not enough water, so it’s helpful to ask. I have a couple calls in to find out what the current needs are and will post that info. when I get an answer– which is that cash donations are needed most; they’re being used to help victims and feed emergency responders. 

From the Seattle PI. Lindsey Wasson/AP.
From the Seattle PI. Lindsey Wasson/AP.

This is not the first time this area has been hit by a mudslide but this is the deadliest. Please pray for everyone involved– ask for and expect divine intervention– and help however you are able, even if it’s reposting this information. Thank you, and please note that the Snohomish County Sheriff has said to stay clear of trestles or bridges or anywhere near the Stillaguamish River downstream of the slide.

CNN – Washington landslide — at least 18 unaccounted for, fire chief says

KOMO – Cries for help still heard in fatal mudslide near Oso

Seattle Times – 18 unaccounted for in slide; voices heard, then gone

Fox News – At least 18 people unaccounted for after massive Washington mudslide

As an aside, this incident reminds me of the Wellington Avalanche of 1910 near Stevens Pass. You can still see parts of that site from Highway 2.

From CNN
Highway 530 near Oso mudslide. From CNN.


The Washington State Department of Resources has an interactive geology map. While I’m still trying to determine what, exactly, is shown on the landslide layer of their GIS system below, here’s a screenshot of the area near where this mudslide occurred. I don’t know what date range is represented on this map.

From the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
From the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
WA Landslides 2
From the Washington State Department of Natural Resources

You can report landslides in Washington State here.

NOAA’s hydrologic data page shows no flooding at this time but there is a flood warning in effect.Anyone who lives in an area prone to flooding should be familiar with this map.

National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service
From the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service

By clicking on the colored points in the interactive map, you can see data from specific areas like this:

NOAA Hydrologic Data 3
From the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service

The latest statement linked to this map (as of 1 P.M. 3/23/14):

NOAA Hydrologic Data 2
From the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service


©2014 H. Hiatt/ All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/

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