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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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March 26th, 2014
02:09 PM ET

Governor: Death toll from landslide will rise significantly

Watch our full interview with Gov. Jay Inslee on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" at 4 p.m. ET

(CNN) – It has been four days since anyone has been pulled alive from the wall of mud that slammed two towns north of Seattle.

More than 175 people are still reported as missing, and the death toll stands at 24.

Based on what he has seen, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee expects that toll from Saturday’s disaster to rise significantly.

"I don't think anyone could reach any other conclusion," Inslee said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Read: Families of landslide missing: 'We haven't lost hope'

So much time has passed since the last survivors were rescued, and search teams have been sobered by the "discouraging" reality that they have not found more people protected by a car or a structure,  Inslee said.

"The force of this landslide just defies imagination. The cars that have been found have been just, literally, twisted into corkscrews and torn in half," he said.

There has been criticism that no landslide warnings for the area were issued immediately before the disaster, which came after weeks of heavy rain.

Following a 2006 landslide in Snohomish County, Washington, officials invested millions of dollars in mitigation, and residents affected by a massive landslide over the weekend knew the risk but felt safe, the county’s emergency management director, John Pennington, told CNN.

"Sometimes big events just happen," he said.

Inslee said landslides hit the state on a regular basis, but noted at this stage, "we don't know" if there were missed warning signals.

"We will get to the bottom of that question when we have time to thoroughly evaluate it," he said. "I am dedicated 24 hours a day right now to rescuing these people."

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