The rain kept falling in the Northwest on Sunday, and weather officials reminded residents to stay on alert because of flooding danger and related problems with the wet weather.
But the second round of Skagit River flooding was looking less severe than earlier predictions, even as officials in Whatcom County remained on high alert as river models continued to fluctuate.
As of Sunday evening, projections showed the Skagit River would crest in Concrete at 29.18 feet (minor flood stage) around 10 p.m. Sunday then crest in Mount Vernon around 10 a.m. Monday at 30.19 feet (moderate flood stage.)
That was several feet lower than previously projected. Still, there were concerns about flooding in tributaries and landslide risks due to the over-saturated soil caused by another recent weather system. Ponds of water still stand in fields across Skagit County even two weeks after heavy rains and flooding hit the Northwest two weeks ago.
To the north in Whatcom County, National Guard members worked to help provide sandbags and other community assistance to the hard-hit areas of Everson and Sumas. Alerts went out that schools in Ferndale would be closed Monday.
The National Weather Service had warned Saturday that flooding was possible through Sunday across northwestern Washington, but an atmospheric river — a huge plume of moisture extending over the Pacific and into the Northwest — moved farther north into Canada than expected overnight.
“The impacts weren’t quite as bad as we were anticipating during the overnight period,” weather service meteorologist Steve Reedy told The Associated Press.
After a respite, rain reentered the area later Sunday, which could cause some “nuisance flooding,” he said. The big question was how some communities, which saw heavy damage earlier from the previous storm, would fare.
The Nooksack River topped Main Street in Everson on Sunday afternoon, Mayor John Perry told the AP.
Perry was hopeful flooding wouldn't end up being as dramatic as anticipated, but the uncertainty of the bottom of the river from the last flood made him nervous.
“I think we’re overprepared right now,” he said. “We’re monitoring it very carefully.”
The rain slowed down later in the day, and Main Street's flooding was about a foot deep, he said.
“At this point, it appears things are stable, and there's no cause for alarm,” Perry said.
While rain is expected to taper off Monday, another system is headed to the area starting Tuesday and spilling into Wednesday, Reedy said. Those living in low-lying or flood-prone areas should be prepared to take action, even with moderate flooding.
“On the bright side of things, it does still look like after we get into Wednesday, conditions look dry after the second half of the week,” he said. “So hopefully there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.”
During the flooding the week of Nov. 15, the Skagit River crested at near-record levels, reaching 38.93 feet in Concrete and 36.79 feet in Mount Vernon.