LOCAL NEWS

Whatcom County resident recounts having to leave home by boat amid devastating flood

Nov 17, 2021, 5:32 AM
Whatcom County flooding...
Flooding struck across Whatcom County early this week. (Deedee Sun, KIRO 7)
(Deedee Sun, KIRO 7)

Hundreds of Whatcom County residents were forced to evacuate from their homes this week due to flooding. For Everson resident Lori Gardner, it was a surreal experience to say the least.

Flooding hits 75% of Sumas homes as responders stage rescues with boats, tractors

“My husband and I have lived in Whatcom County, we have never seen the river rise and come from the direction that it did,” Gardner told MyNorthwest.

At 11 p.m. on Sunday, there was little more than a “little pond in the driveway” outside her home. By 6 a.m. the following morning, she and her husband were woken up by the sound of roaring water.

“The water was running like a river through our backyard,” Gardner recalled. “It had come up to the house and all of our cars and trucks were underwater.”

With two motorcycles and an antique car in their garage, they started scrambling to block doors with as many blankets and towels as they could find. The water got in regardless, flowing in through the heater and underneath doorways.

Not long after that, “we were standing in two inches of water,” Gardner said. As the water continued to rise, she and her husband began packing bags, quickly flagging down a passing truck outside from their living room window.

The driver of the truck then left momentarily before returning with a boat. Gardner and her husband climbed in with their belongings, their dog, and their cat in a carrier, hitching a ride down the road to their daughter’s house.

They were finally able to return to their home on Tuesday, now submerged in six inches of water on the main floor, along with three feet of standing water in the lower-level garage.

“Right now, the water is still up to thigh-high and we waded through that today,” Gardner said. “Everything in the garage was floating, and all of our motorcycles are underwater. All the tools were underwater. We had a chest freezer that floated and tipped over on its side, and all of the contents were spilling out.”

‘Atmospheric river’ causes floods, evacuations in Northwest

Thankfully, they have flood insurance, but will still have to wait for an inspector to come in and assess the damage in person. In the meantime, she says they will likely have to start ripping out their carpets and flooring, despite having recently finished a lengthy remodel.

“The sad part is we just finished a two-year remodel project, and our house was beautiful,” she said. “We just put $180,000 into the remodel — it’s a 1900s house in need of some real TLC, and we had put it off.”

Gardner estimates it’ll take a good six months before they can move back into their home. Meanwhile, she says it’s just stuff. She feels truly blessed she’s surrounded by her children and grandchildren in a warm home.

“I want to put my heart out to those people. … I can’t imagine,” Gardner said of residents in Everson and Sumas who’ve lost so much more this week.

Officials estimate that roughly 500 people have been displaced over flooding in Whatcom County, 280 of whom are currently spread across three new shelters stood up on Tuesday. Moving forward, it could be days before many residents will be able to get to their properties to assess damage.

It’s estimated that roughly 75% of homes in the neighboring town of Sumas were flooded as part of Monday’s stormy weather.

Local News

Seattle police protest...
Hanna Scott

Audit from police watchdog warns of ‘gaps in the discipline system’ for Seattle officers

An audit of the Seattle Police Department’s disciplinary system lead to nearly a dozen recommendations by the city’s Office of Inspector General.
9 hours ago
Election fraud...
Nick Bowman

Claims of election fraud from Washington Republicans persist amid flood of emails to AG’s office

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson was flooded with emails last weekend, pushing for him to support the latest claims of election fraud.
9 hours ago
Green Lake...
MyNorthwest Staff

Should Seattle take a traffic lane for an outer loop at Green Lake?

Green Lake in Seattle could have an outer loop in the near future with even more space for people to walk, run, and bike around the lake. 
9 hours ago
Washington state forest...
Dalton Day

Washington state to preserve, reseed two million acres of forest by 2040

The state Department of Natural Resources makes a substantial investment in its forests, pledging to preserve or restore 2 million acres of trees by 2040.
1 day ago
homeless encampments...
Dalton Day

King County Council rejects attempt to remove public homeless encampments

King County Council ahs rejected a motion to codify procedure for removal of homeless encampments in unincorporated King county.
1 day ago
Charleena Lyles...
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle agrees to settlement in Charleena Lyles wrongful death lawsuit

The City of Seattle will pay a $3.5 million settlement to the family of Charleena Lyles, a Black woman who was shot and killed by Seattle police in 2017.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
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, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Whatcom County resident recounts having to leave home by boat amid devastating flood