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Whatcom County officials promise National Guard assistance in advance of upcoming flood event

Residences on 2nd Avenue in Ferndale after the Nooksack River had crested at about 23.5 feet (November 16, 2021). Photo: Whatcom News

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Whatcom County officials at the Emergency Operations Center in Bellingham announced today that a number of personnel resources were being deployed in anticipation of a flood event expected in the upcoming days.

Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, along with personnel from local fire districts, other response personnel, and the Washington State National Guard are being pre-deployed in advance of this weekend’s storm systems. In addition, Whatcom County Public Works has sent additional sand and sandbag supplies to both Everson and Sumas. 

At this point, the Nooksack River is projected to reach moderate flood stage on Sunday, Nov. 28. Damage to levee systems from previous storms may result in greater impacts to the floodplain areas than would typically be experienced at these river levels. There is much uncertainty as a result of last week’s flood flows. However, based on the latest flood models, Sunday morning’s predicted flows are likely high enough to overtop Main Street in Everson. Everson impacts could happen very early on Sunday morning. The potential also exists for this to impact Sumas. 

National Guard troops are expected to arrive on Saturday and their mission is to assist local agencies. Specific mission objectives include sandbagging, transportation of supplies, and providing support to Nooksack, Sumas, and Everson.  

“Since the flooding began, everyone from law enforcement and first responders to mayors, neighbors and local agencies have been answering the call to help,” said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo. “We welcome the news that members of the National Guard are ready to join in the response.”  Whatcom County Emergency Operations Center (November 26, 2021)

A frequent complaint heard during Wednesday’s community meeting between government officials and victims of the mid-November flood disaster was the lack of state and federal assistance including National Guard personnel, vehicles and heavy equipment.

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