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World War II-era building slides 200 feet down California cliff after heavy rain

The California state flag waves in the wind in front of the 1106th Theater Aviation Sustainment Mainteance Group (TASMG) headquarters at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Oct 10, 2019. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Angel Espinoza)

A massive World War II-era military building tumbled 200 feet from a sandy cliff onto a California beach, officials said.

The structure was “undermined when saturated bluff sand slid onto the beach” at Fort Funston, a park with 200-foot oceanside bluffs on the “western edge of San Francisco,” according to a Jan. 16 tweet from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

There were no injuries, Capt. Jonathan Baxter with the San Francisco Fire Department said in an email to McClatchy News.

Coastal agencies encourage visitors to exercise caution around post-storm saturated hillsides and coastal bluffs as they enjoy sunny days after weeks indoors,” the Golden Gate National Recreation Area said on Twitter.

“The collapsed structure was likely an observation post that was part of the Battery Davis coastal defense fortification,” the Golden Gate National Recreation Area said in an email to McClatchy News. “It is made of reinforced concrete and would be incredibly expensive to remove from the beach, so it will remain in place as we assess our options.”

Fort Funston was once a harbor defense installation, which housed military equipment and buildings, including batteries, bunkers and barracks, according to the website California Military Museum.

“The garrison complex would grow during World War II by the construction of a new class of ‘temporary’ barracks and quarters and other structures to a total, by the end of 1942, of 86 buildings,” the website said

The landslide at Fort Funston is the latest in the aftermath of a recent onslaught of back-to-back atmospheric rivers that hit the state.

The powerful storms resulted in sinkholes, as well as rockfalls and landslides that caused the closure of a number roads, The Associated Press reported.

One of the storms collapsed a pier in Santa Cruz, as well as left a popular beach in ruins, McClatchy News reported.

The recent surge of storms also led to at least 19 deaths, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Though heavy rainfall helped the state’s drought conditions in recent weeks, it did not put an end to the drought, The Sacramento Bee reported.


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