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Marine Drive closed during flooding event (November 2015). Photo: My Ferndale News

Water over Ferndale area roads leads to closures while river continues to rise

FERNDALE, Wash. — While the Ferndale area is basking in unseasonably warm temperatures (temperatures were about 50° at 6am) this morning, Saturday, February 1st, the weather system responsible for those balmy temperatures is also responsible for heavy rains that have been and continue to have an impact on the Ferndale area.

Surface Water Flooding

Locally heavy rains have caused some streams and creeks to overtop their banks pushing water and debris onto roads that are not usually impacted. Many low points on area roads also have standing water as a result. Drivers need to be alert for water and debris on all roads around the Ferndale area.

River Water Flooding

The Nooksack River at Ferndale is now the subject of an official Flood Warning from the National Weather Service that continues to Monday evening. Minor flooding is forecast based on official flood state levels.

The second round of heavy rain has moved into the Northern and Central Cascades early this morning with one to two inches reported in the last six hours ending at 4 am. The heavy rain will move south through the area later this morning.

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From the National Weather Service’s Flood Warning statement n February 1, 2020 at 4:50am

In a preemptive move, Whatcom County officials closed Slater Road between LaBounty Drive and Ferndale Road last night. Also closed were Marine Drive between Lummi Shore Road/Drive and Rural Avenue, Ferndale Road north of Marine Drive and Barrett/Paradise Roads. County Public Works warned they did not expect to reopen Slater Road until Monday at the soonest.

City of Ferndale staff closed access to the parking lot at VanderYacht Park yesterday and County Parks staff closed Hovander Homestead Park, including Tennant Lake Interpretive Center and the Fragrance Garden, boat launch and park trails yesterday.

As of 5am this morning, the river level at Ferndale was reported at 16.6 feet and is expected to continue rising until cresting at just past the 20-foot mark about 10am Sunday. Low-lying residential areas in the vicinity of VanderYacht Park are considered at risk for flooding when the river gets near the 20-foot mark. This includes Washington Street, Portal Way, 2nd Avenue and Bass Drive.

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A official Wind Advisory remains in effect until 10am this morning. The Ferndale area can expect sustained west winds of 25 to 35mph with gusts up to 50mph according to forecasters.

Strong winds hit the area late yesterday and through the night with the strongest gust of 56mph recorded about 7pm by a weather station located near Ferndale High School. The majority of strong gusts were closer to 40mph. No significant outages or property damage have been reported in the Ferndale area as a result although 425 Puget Sound Energy (PSE) customers lost power in the Marietta area around midnight due to trees into power lines according to PSE. As of 3am, the estimate for restoring power was 7am.

Winds are expected to build through the morning coinciding with a high tide expected to occur around 10am, according to County Division of Emergency Management Deputy Director John Gargett in an email this morning. He said, “Wave height will result in some possible overflow especially in Birch Bay and Sandy Point.”

The latest Nooksack River level forecast at Ferndale can be monitored on the MFN River Page.

The latest traffic impacts and estimated travel times on main routes through, in and out of the Ferndale area can be monitored on the MFN Traffic Page.

One Comment

  1. Norma Duran Norma Duran February 1, 2020

    Good Morning from Norma Duran in Denver, CO. Thank you for reporting on the Nooksack River and flooding stage. I used to live close to Slater Road and do hope no properties are damaged.

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