TODAY   |  March 28, 2013

After landslide destroys home, dozens more at risk

A man barely escaped his home before it tumbled down a hill in a landslide near Puget Sound on Whidbey Island in Washington state. Damage to other homes has been limited, but loose land still poses serious risks. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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>>> now that dangerous situation near seattle this morning where dozens of homes are in danger after a gigantic, gigantic landslide. nbc's miguel almaguer is on the scene. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning to you. today it's still unclear what triggered that huge slide. one man narrowly escaped his home before it tumbled down the hill. police here say that dozens of homes could be lost.

>> reporter: the massive landslide roughly 1/4 mile wide and 1/2 mile deep swallowed a single home. and this morning, threatens or has cut off access to 34 more.

>> the bluff used to slope now it goes straight down.

>> reporter: one house teeters from the edge, another slid off the foundation, many more on shifting soils.

>> very nervous. it's all we have.

>> reporter: neighbors say they heard what sounded like a sonic boom wednesday morning, land rumbling, trees snapping, and homes shifting. a miracle say rescue teams no one was hurt. neighbors were told to evacuate immediately.

>> we strongly recommended that people leave.

>> reporter: known for its stunning beauty, it overlooks the puget sound . but few ever thought they'd see a view like this. with the main road washed away, power lines and a water main wiped out, emergency crews used microsoft ceo steve balmer 's property to assess the damage. brett holmes lost half his backyard. insurance, he says, won't cover the damage.

>> makes me sick to my stomach having to get up and go through this. that's the first news i got.

>> reporter: with some evacuation orders lifted, this morning, others are still being warned to stay away . today they can only watch and wait uncertain what they'll find when it's deemed safe to return.

>> reporter: though landslides are fairly common in this area, one of this magnitude is certainly rare. geologists will look at the role that recent rain and snow played in the area. the bad news, matt, there's a potential for rain in the forecast today.