A scientist working for the government had warned 15 years ago about the potential for a catastrophic landslide in the Washington village where the collapse of a rain-soaked hillside over the weekend killed at least 14 people and left scores missing.
As rescue workers slogged through the muck and rain in search of victims yesterday, word of the 1999 report raised questions about why residents were allowed to build homes on the hill and whether officials had taken proper precautions.
“I knew it would fail catastrophically in a large-magnitude event,” though not when it would happen, said Daniel Miller, a geomorphologist who was hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do the study. “I was not surprised.”
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