6 People Missing After Intense Rain Causes Devastating Mudslides In Alaska

Screenshot/video/ABC News

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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Six people are missing in Alaska after intense rainfall caused landslides that have destroyed multiple homes Wednesday, WHSV reported. 

Search-and-rescue teams and commercial fishermen were working to locate the multiple missing people as the Alaska Coast Guard provided emergency support in Haines, WHSV reported. Dozens of homes that were impacted by the landslides were destroyed, and roughly 30 people in the community of 2,000 were evacuated. 

The search was suspended Wednesday evening due to heavy rains that made the soil unstable, Haines Borough Mayor Douglas Olerud told the Associated Press. Those missing were in the Beach Road area, where a roughly 600 foot wide landslide went down, Olerud added. 

National Weather Service meteorologist Gregg Spann said that more than 9 inches of rain fell on the Haines airport over 36 hours, NBC reported, with a flash flood warning issued for Thursday morning. 

Haines Borough Government also warned of unstable ground conditions with the continued rainfall, with a high possibility of additional debris flow and landslides into Thursday. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said on Facebook that its contractors and other resources were working to clear roads of water and debris to allow safe travel to resume in the area. 

Posted by Haines Borough Government on Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Over the past 24 hours, strong winds and record-breaking rainfall caused considerable damage to roads and infrastructure…

Posted by Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities on Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Residents also participated in the effort to mitigate the damage with their own shovels and other equipment they had at home. (RELATED: It’s Not Just Covid-19. Here’s How Experts Recommend You Prepare For Any Disaster)

Olerud told USA Today that the landslides caused “a few million dollars” in damage to roads and infrastructure, and that it was the “largest national disaster” that he has seen in Haines.