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Ferndale concerns turn from wind damage to the rising river

River floodwater is seen covering Slater Road east of the Nooksack River bridge while the river level was at 16.8 feet (February 16, 2017). Photo: My Ferndale News
River floodwater is seen covering Slater Road east of the Nooksack River bridge while the river level was at 16.8 feet (February 16, 2017). Photo: My Ferndale News

FERNDALE, Wash. — The Nooksack River level at Ferndale began rising Monday afternoon and, as of 2pm, had reached the 16-foot mark today, Wednesday, January 13th, and continues to rise.

Road impacts as of 2pm today due to river flood water and debris over roads include the following.

  • Ferndale Road between Slater Road and Marine Drive is closed
  • Barrett Road is closed north of Main Street
  • Paradise Road is closed east of Barrett Road
  • S Church Road is closed south of Ulrich Road
  • Lampman Road is closed west of S Church Road
  • Water and debris are over Imhof Road south of Douglas Road
  • Water and debris are over Ferndale Road north of Slater
  • Water and debris are over Marine Drive west of Ferndale Road

Water and debris have begun encroaching onto Slater Road east of the Nooksack River bridge but, as of 2pm, there were no impacts to traffic.

The river level is currently forecast to crest late today at about the 17-foot mark, a foot short of the official minor flood stage range of 18 to 20.5 feet.

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According to the National Weather Service website, when the river level reaches the 16-foot mark at Ferndale, the river can be expected to begin spilling over its banks into low pasture lands flooding some roadways that are not protected by levees including Marine Drive and Ferndale Road. When the river level reaches the 17-foot mark at Ferndale, the river can be expected to overtop levees along Bertrand Creek and near Marine Drive, causing shallow flooding of low pasture lands along the river and additional roadways within the floodplain including Slater Road.

Whatcom County Public Works crews have preemptively brought in large electronic signs to warn drivers in the event rising river water forces closing Slater Road. If the road is closed, it would be the first time gates installed on Slater Road last year would be used to affect the road closure instead of needing to haul jersey barriers and place them across the road at the points of closure.

Drivers and property owners are advised to continue monitoring the river level forecast for the Nooksack River at Ferndale.

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