(PresidentialInsider.com)- Northern Washington has been pounded by rain in recent days, and floodwaters have caused the state to declare a State of Emergency.
Rivers began cresting in northwestern Washington after the region experienced significant periods of rain for days. And while the rain has stopped, the floodwaters haven’t receded yet, as the rivers have been slow to drain. That’s caused many areas to remain covered in water.
On Tuesday, the state’s governor, Jay Inslee, declared a State of Emergency for all 14 counties that have been affected by not only the floodwaters, but also strong winds that were caused by two atmospheric rivers that deluged the area for four days.
In the process, more than 175,000 people at some point lost power initially. Strong winds gusted as high as 75 miles per hour at times, causing the power to go out in many regions. By later on Tuesday, there were still roughly 30,000 people who didn’t have power.
The areas that were hit the hardest were those located along the Skagit River in Skagit County as well as along the Nooksack River in Whatcom County. Both of those rivers crested to near record levels, causing major floods in various locations.
In a town called Everson, which is close to the border with Canada, crews are continuing to search for a 59-year-old man who was swept away in a car by the floodwaters on Monday morning.
The man, Jose Garcia, contacted his family members to tell them he was hanging onto a tree. The family members said that they lost contact with him after roughly an hour, though, and no one has seen him since then.
Hundreds of people had to be evacuated and rescued in the town of Sumas, also along the border with Canada, because of floodwaters. Officials in the town said crews needed to use heavy equipment and tractors to get to and rescue these people.
City officials posted a message on Facebook on Tuesday that read:
“We are estimating that over 75% of the homes have incurred water damage. There are at least 12 rail cars that have also been derailed. Yesterday and today, first responders and volunteers have helped rescue and evacuate hundreds of people. The damage is devastating to our city. These families and businesses need our prayers and support as we start the process of cleanup and rebuilding over the next few days.”
A town called Bellingham has dealt with not only massive flooding, but also mudslides as a result of the rain. Northbound lanes of Interstate 5, which is the main highway that runs north-to-south in the region, have been blocked for days after a mudslide rode across the highway, hitting three vehicles in the process.
Luckily, no one was injured in the incident, but it’s made getting around very difficult. Not only was the highway shut down, but many of the alternate routes people would normally take have been affected as well.