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'The Whole Side of the Hill Has Come Down' in Alaska

6 Haines residents are unaccounted for
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2020 7:20 AM CST

(Newser) – Alaska State Troopers say six people are missing after a massive landslide caused by a record-breaking storm. Troopers said Wednesday evening that four homes were buried under 9 feet of mud and trees after a landslide 600 feet long swept through a neighborhood in Haines, around 90 miles north of Juneau, the Anchorage Daily News reports. Troopers said Wednesday evening that the search had been suspended due to "rumbling unstable ground." Alekka Fullerton, Haines borough interim manager, tells CNN that "the whole side of the hill has come down," leaving dozens of homes uninhabitable.

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Troopers say the search will resume Thursday when a helicopter with medics and search personnel arrives, the New York Times reports. "Haines is going to be needing lots of prayers," Mayor Douglas Olerud said Wednesday. “We have several roads that have washed out, mudslides, and houses flooding." Haines Avalanche Center director Erik Stevens tells the CBC that the town received more than 8 inches of rain in 36 hours, far more than it has seen even in "extreme cases" in the past. "To get six inches in one day is, you know, pretty much double the strongest storms we've seen in recent memory and eight inches in two days is definitely unheard of in the modern record," he says. (Read more Alaska stories.)

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