A sea of mud covered an area roughly a square mile. Saturday rescue efforts were hampered by the dangerous conditions. Search and rescue began properly Sunday.
The mudslide reportedly was quick. In a matter of seconds the vast wall of mud swamped the area, including homes and sections of Highway 530.
Hopes of finding any more survivors are fading according to search and rescue workers who took to helicopters as well as searching on foot where possible.
Saturday night voices, possibly from children, were heard coming from one buried structure but conditions resulted in any rescue being abandoned. By Sunday there were no voices.
The affected area lies along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and at least 30 homes are understood to be buried under debris and mud.
The area is no stranger to mudslides and attempts to stabilize hillsides have been made previously. These included building dikes, rock buttresses and drainage systems but most have been ineffective.
The last big mudslide was in 2006 and it was the same hillside that spewed its mess over the area. Look back at the history of the region though and it is littered with similar events.
The weekend's deadly mudslide must surely lead to action but what will that action be? Removing the Highway and homes seems a good idea.
At least a dozen people are missing and the death toll is expected to rise further.