State flood damage inspectors headed to northwest Washington

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Elaine Thompson

Passersby surround a car whose driver went past a barricade and into the flooded Nooksack River, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Ferndale, Wash. About a half-dozen citizens went into the river, where they stopped the car from floating further and muscled it back onshore. No one was injured. An atmospheric river—a huge plume of moisture extending over the Pacific and into Washington and Oregon—caused heavy rainfall in recent days, bringing major flooding in the area. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — State flood inspectors are in northwest Washington’s Whatcom County this week to formally assess the level of damage and dollar impact from severe flooding after days of rain fueled by an atmospheric river last week in the region.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said the teams are from the Emergency Management Division of the Washington State Military Department. They will gather data to confirm information collected by communities to determine damage and help justify the request federal aid, The Bellingham Herald reported.

The Red Cross was still operating two shelters that were housing a few dozen people north of Seattle in Hamilton and Lynden as of Monday.

Gov. Jay Inslee also changed his severe weather damage emergency proclamation Friday to make emergency cash assistance available to people in the storm-affected 14 counties.

In the small city of Sumas, close to the Canada border, the city was coordinating clean-up efforts after floodwaters damaged an estimated 85% of the residences.

Police in nearby Everson said on Facebook Saturday that over 600 volunteers in Everson and Nooksack and 500 in Sumas helped with flood cleanup.

“We helped clean up over 170 homes, eclipsed 300 tons of waste disposed of, and made a big dent in the work that was needed to start the rebuilding process,” the police post said.

The Washington Department of Transportation said Monday in a Twitter thread that several roads north of Bellingham and on the Olympic Peninsula were still affected by the flooding.