The Nooksack River is a beautiful part of Ferndale. But it is not without its hazards. Flooding is something to be prepared for all year round. Keep your eye on the river forecast graph as provided by the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service and National Weather Service and shared here.
This graph from NWS Seattle shows recent history and the current forecast for the river level at the point where it flows under the Main Street bridge in Ferndale.
How to read the graph:
Look to the left axis for the river level in feet and recent past and upcoming dates along the bottom axis.
More information from the National Weather Service website:
At 23 feet (major flood stage)
The Nooksack River will cause major near record flooding from near Ferndale downstream to the mouth, overtopping levees on both sides of the river and flooding roadways on the Lummi Peninsula including Haxton Way. Deep and swift flood waters will inundate residential areas…farm lands…and roads. In addition…flood waters could overflow and flood the Sumas drainage. Flooding will occur all along the river including headwaters…tributaries…and other streams within and near the Nooksack River Basin.
At 22 feet
The Nooksack River will overflow levees and banks along the east bank of the river from Hovander Park downstream to Marietta, causing widespread flooding from near Ferndale downstream to the mouth with swift waters in residential areas and over farmlands and roads. Erosion may damage some river banks. Flooding within the City of Ferndale affects Main Street in the vicinity of the Whatcom Transportation Authority Station.
At 20.5 feet (moderate flood stage)
The Nooksack River will overflow levees and banks along the east bank of the river from Hovander Park downstream to Marietta, causing widespread flooding from near Ferndale downstream to the mouth with swift waters in residential areas and over farm lands and roads. Erosion may damage some river banks.
At 20 feet
The river will flood additional areas within the City of Ferndale including low-lying residential areas and roads including Washington Street, Portal Way and 2nd Avenue.
At 18 feet (minor flood stage)
The river begins overtopping its banks within the City of Ferndale flooding low-lying areas within the City and low pasture lands along the river from near Ferndale downstream to the mouth. Impacted areas can include VanderYacht and Hovander Homestead Parks.
At 17 feet
The Nooksack River will 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.
At 16 feet
The river begins spilling over its banks into low pasture lands flooding some roadways that are not protected by levees including Marine Drive and Ferndale Road.
At 15 feet (based on historical observations)
- Expect water over the roadway on Ferndale Road north of Marine Drive and also north of Slater Road
- Expect water over the roadway at the corner of Barrett and Paradise Roads
- Expect flooding of the WDFW parking lot on Marine Drive
- Expect water over the roadway at corner of Marine Drive south of Country Lane
Minor Flooding – minimal or no property damage, but possibly some public threat or inconvenience.
Moderate Flooding -some inundation of structures and roads near streams. Some evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations
Major Flooding – extensive inundation of structures and roads. Significant evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations.
NOTE: Official minor and moderate flood stage levels were lowered in October of 2017
|Flood Stage||New minimum level||Old minimum level|
|Minor Flood||18.0 Feet||19.0 Feet|
|Moderate Flood||20.5 Feet||21.0 Feet|
|Major Flood||23.0 Feet||23.0 Feet|
Each category has a NWS definition based on property damage and public threat.