Flood warnings continue Tuesday, damage in western Washington
A stormy Monday in western Washington led to thousands of power outages, road closures, downed trees, mudslides and severe flooding, especially in areas of Whatcom County.
As most of the rains and winds have stopped or have died down considerably since their peaks in mid-afternoon on Monday, people in the area are to issue flood and damage warnings. Many roads remain closed in the region on Tuesday as well.
There are a few flood warnings still in effect, reports KIRO 7 TV meteorologist Nick Allard, but the Skagit River in Mount Vernon and the Nooksack in Ferndale are in the major flood category and will peak on Tuesday morning.
There are still warnings for the Snoqualmie, Skokomish, Samish and Snohomish rivers, but they are receding and are in the minor category.
A number of schools will be closed on Tuesday due to the weather, including all of the Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Mount Vernon, Burlington-Edison and La Conner public school campuses.
Check school closures and delays here
As of Tuesday morning, tens of thousands of people are in the dark in Washington state. The majority of outages – approximately 16,000 customers – occur in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties.
Puget Sound Power Outage Map
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Snohomish County PUD Outage Map
In Mount Vernon, the mayor has declared a civil emergency and crews are working to limit flood damage as the Skagit River has reached 35.15 feet and appears to have reached its crest.
According to a statement from Skagit County, the Skagit River in concrete reached its crest on Monday, November 15 at 10:45 a.m. at 38.93 feet. The river level at Concrete has dropped to 33.84 feet.
Residents of Fir Island, Sterling and West Mount Vernon have been asked to evacuate. The town of Mount Vernon and the American Red Cross have teamed up to provide shelter at Bethany Covenant Church on South 18th Street. It is open to anyone who needs a safe place to stay during the flood.
Meanwhile, Mount Vernon officials are hopeful that a new flood wall works as intended. The wall was designed to handle flooding from the Skagit River up to 38 feet.
Fortunately, most of the flooding ended after Tuesday.
“Looks like by the time we go into Wednesday a lot of the flooding in the river should be over,” National Weather Service meteorologist Carly Kovacik told KIRO Radio.
Bellingham, in Whatcom County, was also hit hard Monday by devastating flooding and landslides, including parts of I-5 that were closed.
“Where we are – Iowa Street – it looked like a river running through this area, and the cars were submerged. They are still on the road this morning, ”reports Ranji Sinha of KIRO 7 TV. “We see situations like this all around Bellingham; many roads closed in and around the city. And if there’s any good news right now, it’s that the water here seems to be receding. “
Flooding in northeast Whatcom County has displaced some 500 people, mostly in the communities of Everson and Sumas. The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office says three emergency shelters have been opened to care for those flooded from their homes.
For drivers, now is not a good time to drive through Skagit or Whatcom counties if you don’t need to. Washington State Patrol Soldiers say dispatchers in the area are receiving a large number of 911 calls regarding the condition of closed roads and detours.
WSP’s message on Tuesday morning is “don’t call dispatchers with these questions” as they are busy answering large numbers of emergency calls.
The weather also prompted Sound Transit to cancel its route on the N line, which connects Seattle to Everett again on Tuesday. Officials say the cancellation is a precaution due to the risk of mudslides on the tracks. Line N users are encouraged to take regular buses.
On Monday evening, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of extreme weather emergency for every county in northwest Washington, which went into effect immediately. The order directs that the plans and procedures of the Washington State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan be implemented.
Under the ordinance, state agencies and departments are required to use state resources and “do everything reasonably possible to assist affected political subdivisions with the aim of responding to the event and recover from it ”. The Washington State Military Department, Emergency Management Division, and the Washington National Guard will also coordinate incident assistance.
Check back for updates.