As rain continues to fall and the Nooksack River rises, support and response resources are working to mitigate damage and protect those who may be impacted by flooding.
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.
Flows on the north side of the river near Lynden will be higher than typically experienced during a flood of this magnitude because of a levee breach upstream of Hannegan Road. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is working to repair levee systems today, including the levee upstream from the Everson Bridge and a levee breach near Ferndale that they hope to complete today. However, even with repairs, the levee system has been stressed and could be vulnerable in the next storm 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.
Sandbags provided by Whatcom County Public Works are available in Sumas and Everson at:
Those living in unincorporated areas of Whatcom County who need sandbags may get them at either location or phone your closest municipality for instruction on how to get sandbags.