WA Gov. Jay Inslee will seek federal aid for flood damage

With floodwaters receding in parts of Washington state damage assessments are beginning and Gov. Jay Inslee is promising he’ll aggressively seek federal money.

In a visit to Whatcom County Wednesday, the governor said about 500 homes had damage from the storms.

Inslee said he spoke with the mayors of Everson and Sumas and was astonished at the devastation he saw, The Bellingham Herald reported.

“I’m told they did top all-time flood levels in some places,” he said.

Floodwater inundates homes along a road Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Sumas, Wash. An atmospheric river—a huge plume of moisture extending over the Pacific and into Washington and Oregon—caused heavy rainfall in recent days, bringing major flooding in the area. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Inslee scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon, where flood issues will likely be discussed. On Wednesday, he said damage figures will be compiled in a bid for federal assistance.

“They have some of our teachers and educators out going door to door to seek damage assessments," he said.

Laura Anker, Cherry Street Market store manager in Sumas, said Thursday that they were in full clean-up mode.

“It’s not great, but we’re hanging in there,” she said.

The Red Cross said Thursday it is operating three shelters in western Washington to support residents displaced by flooding.

In British Columbia, Canada, the federal government was sending in the military to help with floods and mudslides that destroyed parts of several major highways. Vancouver, B.C., was cut off by road from the interior of the province.

The mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., said he’d be talking with Inslee later Thursday to discuss severe flooding on the Canadian side of the border at least partially caused by swollen rivers in the United States.

Transportation officials on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula were also assessing conditions and clearing debris from roads.

The Pacific Northwest was hit with days of continuous rain and wind that only eased earlier this week.

More rain fell in Bellingham from Saturday through Monday — about 5.57 inches (14.14 centimeters) — than normally falls there during all of November, according to National Weather Service data. The normal monthly rain total is 5.2 inches (13.2 centimeters) for November, the weather agency said.

Source: OPB

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