Two days of nearly nonstop rain threatened severe flooding along the Nooksack River in Whatcom County.
Just before 10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14, the city of Sumas Facebook page posted:
“Earlier this afternoon the Nooksack River overflowed in Everson and the water has been working its way north to Sumas ever since. It just crossed over Tom Road. It is moving a little faster than we expected. It could arrive in Sumas as early as 11 p.m. tonight.
“Please remember to shelter in place once the water arrives. That is your safest and best option at that point.”
A disaster declaration was announced late Sunday, allowing officials to bypass normal purchasing limits to allow a quick response in case the Nooksack River tops its banks, said John Garrett, deputy director of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management.
“We think it could be like 2020,” Gargett told The Bellingham Herald.
In late January and early February 2020, the river surged over the Everson levee and inundated the border town of Sumas, along with parts of Everson and Nooksack and surrounding agricultural fields and pastures.
“People need to be prepared and ready,” Gargett told The Bellingham Herald.
Highway 9 was closed by floodwaters in Acme, at midday Sunday, and Slater Road in Ferndale could close too, he said.
Bellingham and Whatcom County are in the path of a Pineapple Express, an atmospheric river of moisture churning in from the South Pacific.
A flood warning for the Nooksack was issued by the National Weather Service in Seattle as temperatures warmed and rain fell in the Mount Baker wilderness, which got several feet of snow early last week.
Melting snow added to all three forks of the swollen Nooksack, and rain was expected to continue into Monday, Nov. 15.
Nearly three inches of rain has fallen since Wednesday, Nov. 10, as measured at Bellingham International Airport and considerably more has fallen farther inland in the foothills and mountains.
On the Nooksack River near Nugents corner, floodwaters reached “action level” on Sunday and the river was expected to crest near major flood stage Tuesday, Nov. 16.
In Ferndale, the river was expected to crest late Tuesday between moderate and major flood stage.
In Sumas, which was flooded with several feet of water in 2020, Mayor Kyle Christensen asked volunteers to help fill sandbags and urged residents to protect their belongings.
Gargett said that anyone in danger from rising water should call 911.
Flood damage can be reported to the Department of Emergency Management at 360-788-5311.
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