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Emergency preparations are underway as another flood event is forecast

Satellite imagery of an atmospheric river (November 27, 2021). Source: NWS

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Multiple agency officials working out of the Whatcom Emergency Operations Center issued an update this afternoon regarding preparations and expectations regarding flooding brought on by a series of atmospheric rivers directed toward the Whatcom County area.

While river level forecasts show the Nooksack River level cresting in “Moderate Flood Stage” range, there is uncertainty with how changes to the river channel and damages to the levee system may impact the flooding that results from this storm. As a result, confidence in typical moderate flood stage impacts is not high.

As of midday Saturday, Nov. 27, the river is still predicted to crest in the moderate flood range. There is uncertainty with how changes to the river channel and damages to the levee system may impact the flooding that results from this storm. Comparing data from past storms to what is predicted, the upcoming storm system appears similar to what occurred during the 2020 “Superbowl Flood.” Impacts could include levee overtopping at Main Street in Everson Sunday morning. Water may then move downstream to Sumas and across the border to Canada.

Whatcom County news release (November 27, 2021)

The update explained that some levees had been breached during the Mid-November flood event.

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  • Upstream of Hannegan Road
  • Upstream from the Everson Bridge
  • Near Ferndale

The US Army Corp of Engineers has been working to repair the levee systems. “However, even with repairs, the levee system has been stressed and could be vulnerable in the next storm event.”

As reported earlier, National Guard and other personnel and equipment are responding to this latest flooding event.

Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, along with U.S. Border Patrol Search and Rescue, local fire district personnel and approximately 30 members of the Washington State National Guard, are at work in response. The Guard is staging to assist local agencies with sandbagging, transportation of supplies, and providing support to Nooksack, Sumas, and Everson. In addition to preparing and distributing sandbags, responders are monitoring and barricading flooded roads, and staging for water rescues if needed. Border Patrol units will be working to keep traffic off flooded or flood-damaged county roads.

Whatcom County news release (November 27, 2021)

Sandbags provided by Whatcom County Public Works are being made available in Sumas and Everson at:

  • 605 Robinson Street, Everson
  • 143 Columbia Street, Sumas

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