Whatcom County's flood losses could hit $50M; more rain coming

<p><p>Associated Press</p></p><p><p>BELLINGHAM – Damages from flooding last week in northwest Washington’s Whatcom County could reach as high as $50 million, officials said, as forecasters warn that multiple “atmospheric rivers” may drench the Pacific Northwest in the coming days.</p></p><p><p>Whatcom County officials said at a briefing Tuesday the damages for recent flooding were estimated at $15 million to $20 million for houses, “tens of millions of dollars” for public infrastructure and up to $20 million for area business centers, the Bellingham Herald reported.</p></p><p><p>Rain drenched the county for three days and the Nooksack River surged over its banks Nov. 14, inundating the communities of Everson, Nooksack and Sumas.</p></p><p><p>BNSF train cars in a yard derailed, the U.S.-Canada border closed in Sumas, three bridges in Bellingham were closed, and landslides blocked Interstate 5 south of Bellingham.</p></p><p><p>Jon Hutchings, director of the county Public Works Department, said it’s been 30-plus years since flooding of this scale happened in the area.</p></p><p><p>U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crews started repairs Tuesday on Nooksack River levees in four locations, including near Lynden and on the Lummi Peninsula.</p></p><p><p>Meanwhile, damage assessments continued and would be added to losses in 13 other Western Washington counties that Gov. Jay Inslee declared as disaster areas – with the hope of getting federal aid.</p></p><p><p><span class=”print_trim”>And forecasters say more moisture from atmospheric rivers – huge plumes of moisture extending over the Pacific and into the Northwest – is on the way.</span> Rain will begin to move into the Northwest on Thanksgiving Day, with some areas hit by the recent flooding expected to see up to 3 inches by Friday.<span class=”print_trim”>And more storm events are forecast for Saturday and into next week.</span></p></p>