BELLINGHAM. As many parts of western Washington began to dry out Tuesday after a storm that left rain for days, water continued to rise in some areas, authorities urged more people to evacuate and crews tried to restore power and reopen roads.
Authorities in the small town of Sumas, Washington, near the Canadian border, described the damage as devastating. Hundreds of people had been evacuated and about 75% of the homes had suffered water damage, authorities said Tuesday on Facebook.
The event was reminiscent of the record in western Washington, severe flooding in November 1990, when two people died and more than 2,000 were evacuated, according to authorities.
“These families and businesses need our prayers and support as we begin the cleanup and rebuilding process in the coming days,” the Facebook post said.
Across the border, the body of a woman was recovered from a landslide northeast of Vancouver in British Columbia. The landslide near Lillooet was triggered by record rains. There were at least two other missing, according to the Canadian Mounted Police.
The waters of the Sumas River rose rapidly in Washington state, overtaking rescuers in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where 1,100 homes were evacuated Tuesday. Those neighbors joined thousands of other people in the province forced to leave their homes due to floods or landslides since Sunday night.
Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said Tuesday that authorities were having trouble getting people to evacuation points because there were impassable roads.
Southwest of Sumas, Washington, a 59-year-old man from Everson identified Tuesday by police as Jose Garcia was still missing after water washed his truck into a flooded field and the man grabbed onto a tree.
Crews partially reopened the main north-south highway on the west coast, Interstate 5, near Bellingham, Washington, which had been completely cut off overnight by landslides. Northbound lanes remained closed Tuesday night, and work continued.
Canada‘s two largest railroads expected to take several days to bring the tracks into operation in southern British Columbia and unblock the movement of freight from the port of Vancouver.
In the northern Washington city of Ferndale, authorities urged people to evacuate businesses and homes in an area near the flooding Nooksack River.
The rains were due to an atmospheric river, a huge mass of moisture that stretched over the Pacific and into Washington and Oregon.
It was the second major flood incident in less than two years in northwest Washington state, and climate change fuels more extreme and frequent weather events, Whatcom county officials told the Bellingham Herald.