COUPEVILLE, Wash. -- It will be months before some people have full access to their homes following Wednesday’s quarter-mile wide landslide on Whidbey Island, firefighters said Thursday.
Four homes are being yellow tagged, which means the owners will have limited access.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said when geologists mapped this area of Whidbey in 2005, it was marked as a historically deep-seated landslide. They also said the landslide might have started moving in 2002, maybe even earlier.
The properties are located on Driftwood Way and Fircrest Avenue. At least five homes are said to be in immediate danger. Another 35 homes were either under evacuation orders or had been cut off from the rest of Whidbey Island.
"I used to say 'in a million years we'll have waterfront property' and now I can say 100 years or tomorrow. It's unbelievable," said Nancy Skullerud.
The slide in the Ledgewood neighborhood obliterated the hillside at about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday. Washington DNR said the landslide displaced approximately 5.3 million square feet of earth.
During the 1996/1997 storms, a home was destroyed just north of the current Whidbey landslide, the DNR also said. According to the DNR, our climate, topography, and geology create a perfect setting for landslides.
In Wednesday's slide, a two-lane road in the neighborhood was wiped out and pushed 300 feet down the slope. A new road must be built to get some people access to their homes. That could take weeks or months. Geologists will drill for water samples next week to determine when it will be safe to start building a road.
“It’s taken a while to soak it in to realize that life changes in five minutes,” said Skullerud. “Mother Nature always wins.”
KING 5's Eric Wilkinson and Angela King contributed to this report