Landslide on Stemilt Creek Road

June 15, 2009

Thunderstorms over Chelan County have caused a small landslide that destroyed a driveway on the Stemilt Creek Road. According to the Wenatchee World:

” “I wouldn’t say our driveway is damaged. I’d say its nonexistent,” Tammy Liebert said of the 10-foot by 30-foot mud slide that swept across the gravel road to her home at 3550 Stemilt Creek Road. “My husband’s out there with a backhoe now.”

Liebert, her husband Terry Liebert and their 17-year-old daughter were home during the slide, which happened around 8:30 p.m.

“It rained huge drops about the size of chicken eggs, then it hailed about the size of quarters and then there was nothing, and then a huge downpour,” Liebert said. “We heard a noise like a semi skidding down pavement. It was the rumbling of rocks rolling together down the gully.”

Besides garbage can-sized boulders, tree trunks and mud, the Lieberts’ road is also covered in tires.
Liebert said the slide took with it part of a hill along Wenatchee Heights that is a popular teenage drinking spot.

The teens take tires up there and roll them over a guardrail to see how far they go, Liebert said.

“The kids strictly do it for entertainment,” she said. “Once we saw one bounce about 10 feet in the air.”
She said neither the home nor their vehicles were damaged in the slide, but neighbors also received mud damage to their driveways and an orchard.

The storm itself doesn’t appear to be too devastating with rain, so this probably barely reached a threshold limit on an area that is already very unstable. ”

Precipitation Map of Eastern Washington

Precipitation Map of Eastern Washington

The rainfall was probably under .5 inches of rain in the area. However, the area that the landslide initiated out of came is the lateral scarp of the Stemilt Landslide and is a fairly unstable area.

Stemilt Road Landslide

Stemilt Road Landslide

This photo shows a fairly steep scarp with older landslides and scree along the cliff side. A failure in one of these gullies or an area that ponded water could easily turn into a debris flow or debris avalanche and be able to do some damage downhill.

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