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Tuesday, September 02, 2014, 12:06 p.m.
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No national system to track landslide hazards

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 30, 2014 at 10:17 a.m.

search-workers-stand-with-a-rescue-dog-near-a-piece-of-heavy-equipment-being-used-to-clear-trees-and-other-debris-thursday-march-27-2014-as-the-search-continued-for-victims-of-the-massive-mudslide-that-struck-saturday-near-darrington-wash

Search workers stand with a rescue dog near a piece of heavy equipment being used to clear trees and other debris Thursday, March 27, 2014, as the search continued for victims of the massive mudslide that struck Saturday near Darrington, Wash.

— People living in the path of a deadly Washington state landslide had virtually no warning before they heard a wall of mud, trees and other debris thunder down the mountain.

Unlike the warning systems and elaborate maps that help residents and officials prepare for floods and hurricanes, there's no national system to monitor slide activity and no effort underway to produce detailed nationwide landslide hazard maps.

The federal government doesn't track or inventory slide areas nationwide, despite a plan to do so more than a decade ago when Congress ordered up a strategy to reduce landslide losses.

That's left states and communities to put together a patchwork of maps showing landslide hazards. And some are discovering more buildings are sitting on unstable ground.

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