Scientist warned of mudslide danger 15 years ago

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — A scientist working for the government warned 15 years ago about the potential for a catastrophic landslide in the tiny Washington state community of Oso.

The collapse of a rain-soaked hillside there over the weekend killed at least 14 people and left scores missing.

Geomorphologist Daniel Miller was hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do the study in 1999. He said he knew the hillside would collapse catastrophically, but not when.

Snohomish (snoh-HOH'-mish) County officials and authorities in Oso said that they were not aware of the study.

But county emergency director John Pennington said local authorities were vigilant about warning the public of landslide dangers, and homeowners "were very aware of the slide potential."

The area has long been known as the "Hazel Landslide" because of landslides over the past half-century.

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