Road closures, power outages, evacuations persist as floodwaters remain in some areas

SEATTLE — Flooding swamped some towns and cities, mudslides and standing water closed roads across the region, and thousands of people remained without power Tuesday after gusty winds and falling trees brought down power lines during Monday’s storm.

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Parts of Whatcom and Skagit counties are still dealing with flooding and evacuations after continuing rain pushed rivers and creeks over flood stage. But in some areas, floodwaters are starting to recede after rivers crested.

The Skagit River in Mount Vernon crested at 5:15 a.m. on Tuesday morning and in Concrete, the river crested on Monday at 10:45 a.m.

The Samish River crested Monday at 8:15 a.m.

Several school districts remained closed on Wednesday. >>School closures and delays

Though the weather has calmed and any rain that fell Tuesday will not be enough to significantly affect river levels, as the floodwaters recede, cleanup will be the next concern and will last for days in some places.

In Bellingham, both directions of I-5 were closed overnight Monday by flooding and mudslides. A number of cars caught up in the mud were pressed against each other.

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The southbound lanes reopened early Tuesday morning and the northbound lanes reopened around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

On Monday, Whatcom Creek overflowed onto Iowa Street, submerging several cars.

Another car was caught in the flooding near the Bellingham waterfront.

Water from Squalicum Creek overflowed onto Roder Avenue near the turnoff to Squalicum Way, turning the area into a small lake.

On Tuesday morning, there was still plenty of standing water in the area, but by noon, some roads that had been flooded were dry again.

That’s not the case on Iowa Street near I-5, which at noon was still flooded with a few inches to as much as a foot of water, depending on the location. Cars that were abandoned there on Monday remain.

There are still many roads closed in and around Bellingham and other areas of Whatcom County. At one point, there were 6 to 8 inches of water on the southbound lanes of I-5.

Driving past a “road closed” sign in Whatcom County now carries a $500 fine.

Farther north in Whatcom County, several communities have been cut off by floodwaters.

There is widespread flooding in Everson, and officials are searching for a missing man who was swept away by floodwaters Sunday night.

Jose Garcia’s family told the Bellingham Herald that he was on his way to work when he got caught in floodwaters. He called his family and was last known to be hanging onto a tree. Officers found his truck near Nooksack Valley Middle School, but he has not been found.

Rescuers in Everson are using boats and tractors to help anyone who is trapped.

There’s also very serious flooding in Sumas along the Canadian border. The town has been cut off by the high water.

On Tuesday morning, firefighters from Whatcom County Fire District 14 used a drone to take video above Sumas. It showed there is still severe flooding there.

“Waters are receding, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Thank you to all those who have helped their neighbors. Please respect all road closed signs, and don’t drive through flooded streets. Stay strong everyone, and we’ll get through this,” the department posted on its Facebook page.

In Ferndale Tuesday, the city has requested the immediate voluntary evacuation of all residents and businesses in the area south of Main Street between Fourth Avenue and the Nooksack River.

Temporary shelter is now available at the Ferndale High School cafeteria.

At least 500 people have been displaced by floodwaters in Whatcom County.

Find a list of Whatcom County storm-related road closures here.

In Skagit County, Mount Vernon’s mayor declared a civil emergency Monday as crews worked to limit flood damage from the Skagit River. The National Weather Service has since extended the flood warning for the river through late Thursday night.

Officials recommended residents of Fir Island and Sterling should evacuate. City officials have since lifted the voluntary evacuation of West Mount Vernon and the Riverbend / Freeway Drive area.

On Tuesday, Skagit County officials said people who live on Samish Island should consider evacuating or will have to shelter in place. The concern is if flooding from the Samish River blocks access to Samish Island Road, people who live on the island could be cut off from the mainland.

As of 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Samish Island Road is believed to be passable.

The Bethany Covenant Church in Mount Vernon and the Hamilton First Baptist Church near Sedro-Woolley are being used as shelters.

Crews have spent the last few days setting up a temporary flood wall in downtown Mount Vernon to protect businesses there. Relatively little water has seeped out.

Though the Skagit River crested in Mount Vernon Tuesday morning and will slowly recede, some people along the south fork of the Skagit River are still worried about dikes holding up.

People across the county showed up in Conway before sunrise to fill up sandbags.

There was also major flooding in parts of Concrete on Monday. The Skagit River crested there Monday morning.

The Samish River also crested Monday and has since dropped enough to bring it out of major flood status and into moderate.

Drivers throughout Skagit County are warned to expect water over low-lying roadways.

See a list of road closures in Skagit County here.