In the Media

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 1:41pm
Seattle Times

After days of persistent rain and flooding, city officials started to examine the damage in Bellingham on Tuesday.

The city saw more than 4.5 inches of rain in the span of 36 hours beginning Sunday. Lake Whatcom rose to 314 feet above sea level, leading to flooded streets and reports of untreated sewage in low-lying areas.

According to a news release posted on the city of Bellingham’s website, the extent of the damage to city and private property is not yet known.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 1:29pm
The Bellingham Herald

Damage from the flooding across Whatcom County in the wake of three-day Pineapple Express storm could reach $7 million to $10 million, officials said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 16. One man is missing after the atmospheric river that hit Western Washington, dumping a month’s worth of rain in less than 72 hours and pushing the Nooksack River over its banks from Acme in the South Fork Valley to the delta community of Marietta.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 1:23pm
The Bellingham Herald

Though he said low lying areas the Sumas Prairie area in British Columbia remain one good rainstorm away from being in “deep doo-doo,” Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said he feels a whole lot better on Wednesday morning about the risks associated with an overworked pump station possibly failing and causing catastrophic flooding in the region. That is good news for already flood-stricken areas of Whatcom County near the U.S.-Canadian border that worried about the potential impacts of even more water spilling into their communities.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 12:00pm
The SeaDoc Society

Saving endangered Pinto abalone is hard in part because locating their habitat is time-consuming and, as a result, expensive. The process involves dive crews on the water in search of suitable locations, but there are only so many dives a team can do in a day. A recent SeaDoc-funded project is looking for something more efficient.

Photojournalist Gemina Garland-Lewis has been on board with James Dimond, education specialist with the Marine and Coastal Sciences program of Western Washington University, and his team this summer as they’ve explored a new method that involves bottling up sea water and testing it for the presence of abalone DNA to determine habitat. Nothing like a simple innovation!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 11:53am
The Seattle Times

Concerts, sporting matches and other large events will now require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test for indoor events with 1,000 people or more, or for outdoor events with more than 10,000 people. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s mandate goes into effect Monday. Inslee announced the mandate last month after worries about rising COVID rates and specifically the impact of the more-contagious delta variant that threatened to overwhelm local hospitals.

The order applies to everyone 12 and older. The requirement covers ticketed or registered events with defined entrances, not venues like shopping malls, museums or grocery stores that are open to the public.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 11:50am
The Seattle Times

After a day of heavy rain and high winds that prompted evacuations, power outages and a state of emergency for several counties, Western Washington awoke to ongoing flood concerns, scattered roadway reopenings and power coming back throughout the region.

As of 10:28 a.m., around 46,000 customers were without power, down from more than 158,000 customers in the dark at one point Monday afternoon.

The Seattle area forecast calls for showers to taper off Tuesday, with dry conditions during the night and into Wednesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Samantha Borth said Tuesday morning.

As of 10:30 a.m., NWS was recording flooding at six gauges in the region. Major flooding was recorded on the Nooksack River at Ferndale and along the Skagit River near Mount Vernon. Moderate flooding was recorded on the Skagit near Concrete. Minor flooding was recorded at Samish River near Burlington and on the Snohomish River in Snohomish.

North of Bellingham, authorities said one person was still missing Tuesday after being seen in floodwaters clinging to a tree, The Associated Press reported. A motorist in Bellingham was injured when a tree fell on a vehicle, the AP reported.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 11:47am
Associated Press

Pfizer said Tuesday it is asking U.S. regulators to authorize its experimental pill for COVID-19, setting the stage for a likely launch of the promising therapy in the coming weeks.

The company’s filing comes as new infections are rising once again, driven mainly by hot spots in states where colder weather is driving more Americans indoors.

It is one of a handful of pills that have recently been shown to significantly cut hospitalizations and deaths among people infected with COVID-19. If authorized by the Food and Drug Administration it could be a major step toward managing the pandemic and returning to normal, offering an easy, effective way for patients people to treat themselves at home.

“We are moving as quickly as possible in our effort to get this potential treatment into the hands of patients, and we look forward to working with the U.S. FDA on its review of our application,” said Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s CEO, in a statement.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 11:44am
The Bellingham Herald

Floodwaters have closed all lanes northbound of Interstate 5 at Slater Road, the Washington State Department of Transportation tweeted just after 5: 30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16. “Significant amount of water on the road NB I-5 at Main St (MP262) traffic being diverted to Slater,” Washington State Patrol Trooper Rocky Oliphant tweeted at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Southbound traffic is also being affected in the area, according to Oliphant, who advised “hug the right lane where the standing water the most shallow. We have the left lane blocked but people keep merging back over after they pass us.” Oliphant also asked to avoid calling 911 to ask about the status of roads in the area.

full list of Whatcom’s road closures is online. 

WSDOT has not updated closure maps Tuesday, though they are reporting updates on Twitter.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 11:40am
The Bellingham Herald

A man remained missing Tuesday, Nov. 16, after he was swept away by floodwaters in Everson and some 500 residents of rural northern Whatcom County fled their homes as three days of torrential rain sent the Nooksack River roaring over its banks at levels not seen in more than a generation. A voluntary evacuation order was issued at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday as flooding remained a threat downstream toward Ferndale and the low-lying Marietta community near the river delta.

It was the second major widespread flood event in less than two years as a similar storm hit in early 2020, and global climate change is fueling more powerful and frequent storms, Whatcom County officials told The Bellingham Herald. Southbound Interstate 5 opened early Tuesday south of Bellingham after an overnight closure, but the freeway remained blocked northbound at Nulle Road because of landslide debris.

Some 5.57 inches of rain fell from Saturday, Nov. 13, to Monday, Nov. 15. That’s more than the normal monthly total of 5.2 inches for November — Whatcom County’s wettest month, according to National Weather Service data. Daily rainfall records were set for both Sunday and Monday. Skies were expected to remain clear through Thursday, when light rain or showers are possible, according to the current forecast.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 11:36am
The Bellingham Herald

Three more Whatcom County residents’ deaths have been linked to COVID-19, the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard reported on Monday, Nov. 15, and the county’s number of COVID-related hospitalizations also increased. Whatcom has now had 171 deaths related to COVID-19, according to the state’s data. The deaths reported Monday were for residents who first tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 19, 26 and 30, The Bellingham Herald’s analysis of the state’s epidemiological data showed. They bring the county’s total of death epidemiologically linked to October to 16 and Whatcom’s total number of deaths since Aug. 1 to 59, The Herald found. No deaths have been epidemiologically linked to November yet.

The latest report on the state dashboard also shows Whatcom County has 16,191 confirmed cases during the pandemic — up 188 cases from the last report. It marked the 15th-straight weekend report that Whatcom County had a triple-digit increase in confirmed cases. 

St. Joseph hospital in Bellingham reported it was treating 35 patients with COVID-related symptoms on Tuesday, Nov. 16 — up three from its last report.