Northwest residents urged to stay alert as storms roll in
Weather officials urged Northwest residents to remain alert Sunday as more rain was predicted to fall in an area with lingering water from extreme weather earlier this month.
“There’s some good news and some pending news,” said Steve Reedy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.
The weather service on Saturday warned that flooding was possible through Sunday in northwestern Washington, but an atmospheric river — a huge plume of moisture extending over the Pacific and into the Northwest — moved farther north into Canada than expected overnight.
“The impacts weren’t quite as bad as we were anticipating during the overnight period,” Reedy said.
After a respite, rain reentered the area later Sunday, which could cause some “nuisance flooding,” he said.
“The flooding isn’t going to be quite as bad as we were expecting 24 hours ago, but it still looks like some rivers up there could get into minor, maybe even moderate flooding,” Reedy said.
The big question was how some communities, which saw heavy damage earlier from the previous storm, would fare.
People in the small communities of Sumas and Everson in northwest Washington were asked to evacuate voluntarily Saturday night, The Bellingham Herald reported. Both towns near the Canadian border saw extreme flooding from the previous storm.
The Nooksack River topped Main Street in Everson on Sunday afternoon, Everson Mayor John Perry told The Associated Press.
Perry was hopeful flooding wouldn’t end up being as dramatic as anticipated, but the uncertainty of the bottom of the river from the last flood made him nervous.
“I think we’re overprepared right now,” he said. “We’re monitoring it very carefully.”
The rain slowed down later in the day and Main Street’s flooding was about a foot deep, he said.
“At this point, it appears things are stable and there’s no cause for alarm,” Perry said.
Sumas resident Duane DeWaard said his garage flooded a couple of inches during the last flood. He put sandbags at the garage doors and braced for more rain to come Sunday.
“Sumas so far is doing OK,” he said.
November has been wet for northwest Washington. Bellingham recorded 11.64 inches (29.56 centimeters) at midnight Sunday — an all-time record for the month, the weather service said.
A station at Quillayute Airport on the north coast got 27.8 inches (70.6 centimeters) and could likely break a 1983 record of 29.14 inches (74.01 centimeters) for November, Reedy said.
One concern overnight is the threat of landslides, said Gary Schneider, another meteorologist with the weather service in Seattle. There were also flood warnings in effect for some local rivers.
Reedy cautioned not driving into standing water on roadways near rivers.
“It doesn’t take a lot of water to push your car around — or truck,” he said. “Some people think just because they have a large truck, they can mow through. That’s not always the case.”
While rain will taper off Monday, another system is headed to the area starting Tuesday and spilling into Wednesday, Reedy said.
“On the bright side of things, it does still look like after we get into Wednesday, conditions look dry after the second half of the week,” he said. “So hopefully there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.”