SEATTLE – Though flooding that was expected to threaten parts of the Northwest didn’t end up being too bad Sunday, weather officials urged residents to remain alert because more rain was on the way to an area where there’s lingering water from extreme weather earlier this month.
“There’s some good news and some pending news,” said Steve Reedy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.
The weather service on Saturday warned that flooding was possible through Sunday in northwestern Washington, but an atmospheric river – a huge plume of moisture extending over the Pacific and into the Northwest – moved farther north into Canada than expected overnight.
“The impacts weren’t quite as bad as we were anticipating during the overnight period,” Reedy said.
After a respite, rain re-entered the area later Sunday, which could cause some “nuisance flooding,” he said, and rivers could start to rise again in the afternoon.
“The flooding isn’t going to be quite as bad as we were expecting 24 hours ago, but it still looks like some rivers up there could get into minor, maybe even moderate flooding,” Reedy said.
The big question is how some communities, which saw heavy damage earlier from the previous storm, will fare.
People in the small communities of Sumas and Everson in northwest Washington were asked to evacuate voluntarily Saturday night, The Bellingham Herald reported. Both towns near the Canadian border saw extreme flooding from the previous storm.
Officials in Sumas said the Nooksack River had not yet gone over its banks in Everson as of Sunday morning, the newspaper reported, but the river was still expected to go over in the afternoon.
November has been wet for northwest Washington. Bellingham recorded 11.64 inches at midnight Sunday – an all-time record for the month, the weather service said.
A station at Quillayute Airport on the north coast got 27.8 inches and could likely break a 1983 record of 29.14 inches for November, Reedy said.
A broad flood watch for western Washington was in effect until Monday morning. There were also flood warnings for some local rivers.
Reedy cautioned not driving into standing water on roadways near rivers.
“It doesn’t take a lot of water to push your car around – or truck,” he said. “Some people think just because they have a large truck, they can mow through. That’s not always the case.”
While rain will taper off Monday, another system is headed to the area starting Tuesday and spilling into Wednesday, Reedy said.
“On the bright side of things, it does still look like after we get into Wednesday, conditions look dry after the second half of the week,” he said. “So hopefully there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.”
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