ABC NewsA chunk of a Washington island broke off this morning, forcing the evacuation of 34 homes, ABC News reports.
Dirt continues to fall off the new cliff on Whidbey Island, located off Washington’s west coast, as authorities monitor nearby houses. At least one home has slid a considerable distance toward the water.
“Where the soil dropped, it forms a sheer cliff,” Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said. “At the top of that cliff, you’ve got people’s backyard that went from 60 feet to now 10 feet.”
ABC NewsABC’s Seattle affiliate KOMO reported that the landslide measured about 500 yards across and the earth dropped about 700 feet down to the water, noting that somehow no one was injured.
Seventeen of the 34 homes being evacuated are below the cliff and consequently cut off from the rest of the island because of the tons of trees, dirt, and rocks that wiped out a road as well as electrical and water connections.
“It’s not a surprise that [the road] slid,” A resident who lived on Whidbey Island for nearly 14 years told ABC News. “To me, what’s shocking is that so much went so fast.”
The resident, a former environmental coordinator on the island, noted that the island is “a constant slow moving active landslide.”
The ABC News report has a before and after of the island:
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