Weather News

Landslide at Point Defiance Park leads regional weather-related woes

A landslide near a play slide tore out a slope Saturday at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. It’s the latest in a round of rain-aggravated incidents that have plagued Western Washington in recent days.

The Point Defiance slide occurred early Saturday morning between a support column of the new Wilson Way Bridge and a series of ground level children’s slides. Both features opened in July.

The bridge leads to the new Dune Peninsula Park. The bridge’s integrity has not been imperiled and it remained opened Saturday along with the play slides.

“There’s no imminent threat to any of the structures and the park remains open,” said Metro Parks spokesman Hunter George.

At least 40 cubic yards of earth moved in the slide and into the boat trailer parking lot.

Too much rain

Six inches of rain have fallen in the area since Jan. 1. The normal total for this time of year is 4.45 inches — measured at Sea-Tac Airport — according to the National Weather Service.

Continued rain is in the forecast for the next week with periods of heavy downpours, according to the Weather Service.

Mudslides, washouts and flooding are occurring in other parts of western Washington.

State Route 4 is closed about 9 miles west of Cathlamet due to a slide Thursday. Mud, rocks and trees slid on to the road, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Because engineers need time to evaluate the slide, no opening date for the highway could be provided, WSDOT said. Travelers headed to or from the Washington coast can use Highway 30 in Oregon by crossing at The Lewis and Clark Bridge in Longview or the Astoria Bridge.

On the Olympic Peninsula, access to the Hoh Rain Forest area of Olympic National Park is temporarily closed after the Hoh River washed out a section of the Upper Hoh Road leading into the park this week.

Jefferson County plans to begin repairs to Upper Hoh Road next week. The work is expected to take two weeks.

Just outside Hoquiam, state Route 109 is closed in both directions following a slide Thursday. A detour is in place.

The danger of more landslides remain in place through the end of the week, the Weather Service said.

The Skokomish River in Mason County remains above flood stage, the Weather Service said.

In the mountains, avalanches are a serious danger this weekend, according to the National Avalanche Center.

Winds are expected to increase in the lowlands beginning Saturday night and into Sunday morning.

Craig Sailor has worked for The News Tribune for 20 years as a reporter, editor and photographer. He previously worked at The Olympian and at other newspapers in Nevada and California.