‘Atmospheric river’ causes floods, evacuations in Northwest

Nov 14, 2021, 9:12 PM | Updated: Nov 15, 2021, 6:41 pm
A man operates a personal watercraft along a road flooded by water from the Skagit River, Monday, N...

A man operates a personal watercraft along a road flooded by water from the Skagit River, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Sedro-Woolley, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Days of heavy rainfall and high winds Monday coming from an atmospheric river — a huge plume of moisture extending over the Pacific and into the Northwest — in Washington state caused extensive flooding and mudslides that forced evacuations and closed schools and part of Interstate 5.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for several rivers around Western Washington, which has seen nearly ceaseless rain for about a week. Strong winds also hit the region Monday. Gusts pushed 60 mph (96 kph) in multiple places, including a gust of 58 mph (93 kph) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

More than 158,0000 customers were without power in Western Washington at one point Monday afternoon.

Later Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a severe weather state of emergency in 14 Western Washington counties and said the state Emergency Management Division, with support from the Washington National Guard, would coordinate all incident-related assistance.

A state of emergency for the town of Hamilton was declared Sunday. People there, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northeast of Seattle, were urged to evacuate.

Cars and trailers were packed into the parking lot outside the Red Cross evacuation site at Hamilton Baptist Church, where dozens of residents are waiting out the storm, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.

Skagit County officials were comparing this flood to severe flooding in 2009, when the Skagit and Samish rivers overflowed and caused damage to homes, farms and infrastructure,

As the water made its way down the Skagit River, people were warned to expect flooding in Sedro-Woolley, Burlington and Mount Vernon. City officials in Mount Vernon on Monday afternoon recommended people living west of the Division Street Bridge evacuate because of the threat of potential significant flooding overnight.

Just south of the Canadian border in Sumas, Washington, officials said city hall was flooded and that the flooding event was looking like one not seen since 1990.

“At this point in time there is no reasonably safe way to drive to Bellingham without putting yourself or others at risk. Please do not drive through standing or rushing water,” the city’s police department said via Twitter.

Nicole Postma, who owns a coffee stand in Sumas and is president of the Sumas Chamber of Commerce, told The Bellingham Herald Monday that people are nervous.

“We knew that the flood was imminent, but had no idea it would be like this,” she said.

Southwest of Sumas, deputies using a Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office rescue vehicle were evacuating stranded residents in the Everson area, officials said on Twitter.

Bellingham experienced record rainfall Sunday with a one-day total of 2.78 inches (7 centimeters), crushing the prior daily record from 1998 at 0.88 inches (2.2 centimeters), according to the National Weather Service.

All schools in the Bellingham, Washington, district and nearby districts were closed Monday because of dangerous travel conditions. Mudslides closed part of Interstate 5 just south of Bellingham Monday afternoon with three cars stuck in the debris.

No one was seriously injured and the interstate was later shut in both directions overnight because of flooding and active slides, state Trooper Rocky Oliphant said on Twitter.

Caylon Coomes of Bellingham drove his truck and paddle board from his home near Lake Whatcom earlier on Monday to some flooded city streets near the interstate.

“It looked pretty good out there (by the lake) but the street looks a little bit better,” he said. He met another man in a parking lot and donning wetsuits they waded into the water and paddled away past vehicles stuck in the floodwaters.

On the Olympic Peninsula, several highways were closed in places and the U.S. Coast Guard helped local authorities evacuate people west of Forks, Washington. The agency said on Twitter there were about 10 people in danger and that no injuries had been reported.

A semitrailer truck tipped in heavy winds on the Deception Pass bridge and was leaning on the railing Monday, state troopers said. The driver was able to get out, according to the state patrol.

Emergency officials warned that people should expect to see water in low-lying roadways and should turn around rather than drive through water on the road. That water can be moving swiftly and be deeper than it seems, posing serious risk to people in vehicles.

Forecasters say conditions should improve by Tuesday after parts of the region have seen more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain in the past several days.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Jose Alfrtedo De la Cruz and his wife, Rogelia, self-test for COVID-19 at a No Cost COVID-19...
Associated Press

Omicron drives US deaths higher than in fall’s delta wave

Omicron, the highly contagious coronavirus variant sweeping across the country, is driving the daily American death toll higher than during last fall’s delta wave, with deaths likely to keep rising for days or even weeks. The seven-day rolling average for daily new COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. has been climbing since mid-November, reaching 2,267 on […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Finnish diplomats’ mobile devices hacked with spyware

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The mobile devices of Finnish diplomats working abroad have been hacked with the use of sophisticated spyware, Finland’s government said Friday, and the Nordic country’s spy chief said a “state actor” was likely to blame. The Finnish Foreign Ministry said the victims were targeted through Pegasus software developed by Israeli spyware company […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

In blow to telecoms, California’s net neutrality law upheld

A federal appeals court has upheld California’s net neutrality law, rejecting an attempt by telecommunications industry groups to prevent the state from enforcing it. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous ruling, which means the status quo stays and the state can continue to enforce the law. This means California can continue its […]
2 days ago
FILE - Italian Minister for Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani speaks at the opening of a th...
Associated Press

Italian minister: Climate talks include fund governance

MILAN (AP) — Government officials and diplomats from the world’s most climate-polluting nations are grappling with the issue of how to govern the vast funds being pledged to fight global warming, Italy’s climate minister said Friday. “Paradoxically, I don’t think there is a problem of money. It is more the rules, and the strategy,” Minister […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Report: Germany has expelled Russian linked to spying case

BERLIN (AP) — German weekly Der Spiegel reported Friday that the government has expelled a Russian diplomat after he was linked to an espionage case in Germany. The Foreign Ministry confirmed that a member of staff at Russia’s consulate in Munich was declared persona non grata last summer and told to leave the country. It […]
2 days ago
A hand-drawn swastika is seen on the front of Union Station near the Capitol in Washington, Friday,...
Associated Press

Swastikas spray painted on DC’s Union Station

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vandals spray-painted dozens of swastikas on the outside of Union Station, the central hub for regional train transportation in the nation’s capital. The graffiti was discovered Friday, a day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, with crude Nazi symbols painted on columns across the front of the massive building and several clustered around […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
‘Atmospheric river’ causes floods, evacuations in Northwest