Flood watches issued in recently damaged Northwest

<p><p>Residents in Washington state were preparing for possible flooding as “atmospheric rivers” once again threatened parts of the Northwest, which saw heavy damage from extreme weather earlier this month.</p></p><p><p>People in the small communities of Sumas and Everson in northwest Washington were asked to voluntarily evacuate Saturday night, t<a href=”https://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article256167537.html”>he Bellingham Herald reported</a>. Both towns near the Canadian border saw extreme flooding from the previous storm.</p></p><p><p>An emergency alert said road closures in the area could start early Sunday morning.</p></p><p><p>Flood watches have been issued for much of western and north-central Washington for the weekend, and the National Weather Service warned that flooding was possible through Sunday.</p></p><p><p>Heavy rains and rising rivers were also expected over the weekend in the Cascade mountains in the center of the state and the Olympic mountains near the coast.</p></p><p><p>“We are expecting rivers to rise, and possible flooding in some locations by early tomorrow morning,” Gary Schneider, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Seattle office, said Saturday morning. “Right now, there’s no river flooding going on.”</p></p><p><p>Schneider said that if flooding were to occur, it would likely happen Saturday night or Sunday morning.</p></p><p><p>Forecasters say an atmospheric river – a huge plume of moisture extending over the Pacific and into the Northwest – could bring up to 3 inches of rain in some areas hit by the recent flooding.</p></p><p><p>The state is still assessing millions of dollars in damage from the last storm, also blamed on an atmospheric river.</p></p><p><p>In northwest Washington’s Whatcom County, officials said damage costs could reach as high as $50 million.</p></p><p><p>The last floods closed the U.S.-Canada border in Sumas and three bridges in Bellingham, with landslides blocking Interstate 5 south of Bellingham.</p></p><p><p>This weekend’s atmospheric river event should not be as “severe” as the one earlier this month, Schneider said.</p></p><p><p>“It’s still going to be a pretty decent rain event, but (the flooding earlier this month) was kind of an historic event. So we’re not expecting a repeat of that,” Schneider said.</p></p><p><p>Meteorologists predict that rain will taper off Sunday and that Monday should be relatively dry.</p></p>