WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Residents in low-lying areas around the Nooksack river have been dealing with the loss of housing and repairing property damage from repeating flooding events over more than 2 weeks. The river level forecasts issued the morning of December 1st indicate the river is expected to crest once more before returning to seasonally normal levels.
New flooding was experienced across the county yesterday as the 3rd of a series of atmospheric rivers arrived bringing heavy rains. In addition to river water flooding, streams and creeks and surface water flooding resulted in roadway impacts and property damage.
While repairs have been underway to repair damaged levees, concerns remained whether to expect more flooding impacts at lower river levels due to the damage combined with the saturated ground.
Additional flooding is possible in the region tonight (Tuesday) and Wednesday from the current rain event. There remains much uncertainty on how changes to the river channel, depleted floodplain storage, and overfull tributaries may affect Nooksack River flooding. This means areas may flood more quickly and at lower river gauge levels than in the past.
The Nooksack River level forecast at the Saxon bridge on the south fork of the Nooksack River shows the river crested yesterday about 8pm at about 5.25 feet, well below the “Action Flood Stage.” It is expected to crest again at 4.8 feet early tomorrow morning.
The forecast at the Cedarville gauge near Nugents Corner shows the river crested early this morning at about 144.3 feet, also well below the “Action Flood Stage.” It is expected to crest again at 144.7 feet about 8am tomorrow.
The forecast at the Ferndale gauge at Main Street shows the river is expected to crest this afternoon at about 18.4 feet, within the “Minor Flood Stage” range. It is expected to crest again tomorrow afternoon at about 18.0 feet, the bottom of the “Minor Flood Stage” range.
While yesterday’s rains were less volume than the preceding atmospheric river weather events, there were still flooding impacts including several road closures in the eastern county area.
Sumas officials said yesterday, they took the “emergency action” to remove a section of Hovel Road near Front Street after flood water began rising around a failed or blocked culvert under the road creating “imminent danger to surrounding homes.”