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Flooding may slow search at Washington mudslide site; 29 dead

Published on Apr 3, 2014 9:21 AM
Workers walking through mud and debris as search work continues where a massive mudslide struck Oso near Darrington, Washington, on April 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

DARRINGTON (REUTERS) - Recovery teams raced on Wednesday against a forecast of returning showers in their search for victims of a Washington state mudslide that obliterated a community last month and left dozens dead or missing.

Hundreds of search-and-recovery workers have redoubled efforts since Monday to make the most of a three-day dry spell and receding waters after a week of heavy downpours that turned the disaster site in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains into a virtual swamp.

The official death toll rose to 29, based on victims'remains received by coroners, from 28 on Tuesday, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office said. Twenty people were still listed as missing, down from 22 a day earlier.

On March 22, a rain-soaked hillside collapsed without warning above the north fork of Stillaguamish River, unleashing a torrent of mud that roared over the river and across state Highway 530, engulfing some three dozen homes on the outskirts of the town of Oso.

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