It begins with a door that has suddenly become hard to open.
Then you look out a window and notice trees tilting like they’ve been italicized.
You step outside to find cracks opening in sidewalks and driveways.
Time to grab the spouse and kids and get away as fast as you can.
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Washington leads the nation in the number of landslides, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.
“We’re steep, and we get a lot of rain,” said agency spokesman Joe Smillie. “Those are the big drivers.”
Warning signs, including a new spring, seeps or unusually wet ground, could be a sign your home is next to take a dive.
“Any one of them indicates you got something going on,” Smillie said.
The recent history of landslides in the state is punctuated by the 2014 Oso landslide that killed 43 people. But Washington is plagued with landslides every rainy season. Some cause messes on roadways, others claim homes.
“Most of what we see is going to be fairly shallow,” Smillie said. The Oso landslide occurred deep in the Earth.
Centuries ago, glaciers deposited sandy, loose material across what now is Washington. It doesn’t make the most stable cliffs and hillsides.
“Over time, gravity and water will break it back up,” Smillie said.
If you do find your home making an unplanned trip to the beach, don’t expect insurance to cover your losses.
Earth movement is not covered in the standard policy, said Kenton Brine, president of NW Insurance Council.
“It fact, it literally excludes land movement: sinkholes, landslides, mudflow and earthquakes,” Brine said.
Separate policies covering those perils can be purchased.