North Sound city underwater after Nooksack River floods

Parts of Western Washington are covered in water, forcing families from their homes.

Parts of Western Washington are covered in water, forcing families from their homes.

The city of Sumas is flooded after the Nooksack River overflowed its banks overnight.

Only once before this century has the entire city of Sumas been covered in water.

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Video from the scene showed how high the water rose.

At least 100 houses have been flooded, and at least 25 people had to be rescued.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter early this morning. Just a handful of people have sought refuge here. And those who are here did not want to discuss their ordeal.

But the rain left a lot of people with homes full of water.

It is a sight we haven’t seen here for more than a decade: The streets of Sumas turned into rivers.

Some residents took to their kayaks to get around.

“Rainfall was the big story here,” said John Gargett, who runs the Whatcom County Emergency Management center.

The emergency center was fully activated Friday when it became clear the weeks of rain were not over yet.

“And over that time the ground has become extremely saturated,” said Gargett. “So the ground was wet. The mountains were wet. Everything was wet.”

It all proved too much for the Sumas and the Nooksack Rivers. They overtopped their banks, flooding everything in their path. One home seemed to become a part of the Nooksack.

He said people there were not told to leave.

“No, actually they have been asked to stay in place,” said Gargett. “Because the roads through this event in the whole area really were all shut down. As a matter of fact, Sumas was isolated. You could not get to Sumas from the United States.”

The only way into that city of 1,500 residents was through Canada.

It forced the closure of the busy border crossing there, too.

The Nooksack basin is home to 80,000 people.

The Red Cross opened a shelter in Bellingham, a day after another was opened in Skagit County.