FERNDALE, Wash. — The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flood watch effective 10am this morning, Wednesday, February 5th, through Friday afternoon due to moderate to heavy rainfall expected in the mountains Wednesday into Friday plus up to 4 or more inches in the lowlands and foothills.
Assuming the cold north-northeasterly breeze shifts to a warming southerly breeze allowing temperatures in the Ferndale area to rise closer to 40°, as was expected yesterday, snow will shift to rain today just as a new round of precipitation arrives and is expected to continue through Friday morning. Both NWS and Environment Canada forecasts expect temperatures to rise at least enough for the transition from snow to rain to occur by or about noon today. As of 8am this morning, temperatures around the Ferndale area remained near freezing.
The current weather forecast puts the heaviest precipitation over the central Cascades which is good news for those impacted by last weekend’s Nooksack River flooding event which was the result of heavy rains and high snow levels in the north Cascades.
The current Nooksack River level forecast at Ferndale calls for the river to crest late Friday morning at 15.6 feet. While significantly below the 20.9 crest which occurred last weekend some road impacts are still possible at that level.
In addition to any river flooding from mountain rains, heavy local rainfall may again cause small stream flooding as was seen last week in the areas of Douglas Road and Olson Road and roads running through low-lying pasture lands north of Slater Road.
Compounding the effects of heavy local rain and any river flooding is the already saturated soil. Chronic rainfall since the the beginning of the year, including 1 to 4 inches in the lowlands this last weekend, has increased soil moisture to high levels across western Washington, forecasters noted.