Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday declared a state of emergency in 14 counties in the northwest part of the state after a week of severe weather left rivers flooded and thousands without power.
The state of emergency declarations come after the region was hit with two "atmospheric river" events in back-to-back weeks, bringing several days of torrential rain to the area.
The National Weather Service's office in Seattle says that three rivers in the region are currently at "major" flood stages.
CNN reports that hundreds of people in Whatcom County — which borders Canada — have already been displaced from their homes. If rivers continue to rise, flooding could cause more damage in the area.
The rising waters forced Coast Guard officials in the region to conduct several helicopter search and rescue missions on Monday. CNN reports that 10 people — including four children — were rescued in their homes in Clallam County.
In southern Whatcom County, both directions of Interstate 5 were closed near the city of Bellingham on Monday due to the threat of mudslides and flooding.
Both directions of I-5 in Bellingham will remain CLOSED overnight due to flooding & active slides threatening the highway. NB will be closed at Nulle Road (milepost 246) and SB at North Lake Samish (milepost 244). We will reassess in the AM. pic.twitter.com/9avZwHwquq— WSDOT North (@wsdot_north) November 16, 2021
In addition to heavy rainfall, the region experienced heavy wind gusts on Monday afternoon. According to the Seattle Times, gusts of 60 mph were recorded on the shorelines of Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties.
The Times reported Monday night that as many as 158,000 customers had lost power. Poweroutages.us, which tracks outages across the country, reported that about 50,000 customers were still without electricity on Tuesday morning.
Luckily, NWS meteorologists told the Seattle Times that weather events would be "tamer" in the coming days. Wednesday and Thursday are projected to be "mostly dry" and "partly sunny."