by: Chris Legeros Updated:MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. —
Chuck Niles not only heard the mudslide near his home in Maple Valley, he saws tons of earth coming down a steep hillside near his home.
“It was just a huge rumble. It woke everybody up. Everybody was scared to death,” he said.
They were scared because the debris temporarily dammed and rechanneled the Cedar River.
Water was flowing through a half dozen backyards. Six homes were temporarily evacuated.
“It was just crazy. We were all in shock really,” Niles said.
An emergency closure of the Cedar River, between Highway 18 at the Renton Maple Valley Road and Maxwell Road, has been ordered by the King County Sheriff's Office due to the slide. This covers river activities, which includes fishing, boating, floating and swimming.
The slide is estimated at about 300 feet high and 300 feet across at the base.
Maple Valley Highway (State Route 169) to Maxwell Road is closed.
No one was injured in the slide or flooding. The river eventually pushed through the debris, and fell back into its banks. It left behind a big mess. A once grassy field was filled with sand, rocks and trees.
The Cedar River is now closed west of Highway 18 and south of Highway 169. The sheriff’s office wants to make sure boaters and fishermen don't float through the slide area.
Firefighters have put up caution tape around the foot of the slide to keep the curious out of harm's way.
State geologist, Dave Norman, says there is a good chance the earth will continue to move.
Dave Norman said, “It’s unstable and there’s material that’s overhanging that will come down,” said Norman.