HAMILTON — Hamilton residents fleeing from rising water were left to wonder Monday whether their homes are still standing.
Cars and trailers were crammed into the parking lot outside the Red Cross evacuation site at Hamilton Baptist Church, where dozens of residents are waiting out the storm and its effects.
Sitting with his pregnant fiancée in their hatchback, Kyle Ryan said the flooding is adding stress and worry at possibly the worst time.
“It scares me that we’re about to start a family, and what if we don’t have a house?” he said.
The two believe their house will have some damage, but won’t know the extent of it until they’re able to return — hopefully by Tuesday afternoon.
Ryan said his fiancée is due in mid-December, and he’s doing anything he can to keep her calm. He worked by himself to try to secure their home before evacuating Sunday.
Skagit County is comparing this flood to the severe flooding of 2009, when both the Skagit and Samish rivers overflowed and caused damage to homes, farms and infrastructure.
The Skagit River crested in Concrete at 38.47 feet about 9 a.m. Monday, by 3 p.m. was down to about 37.81 feet and should fall below flood stage — 28 feet — by Wednesday.
Carol Janssens, Mass Care lead for the Red Cross’ northwest chapter, is in charge of running the Hamilton shelter.
She said as of Monday morning about 35 people had checked in, with more people waiting in their cars or trailers outside.
The Red Cross opened a second shelter Monday at Bethany Covenant Church in Mount Vernon, and may open more, Janssens said.
Hamilton resident Bert Kerns, a Marine Corps veteran who has lived in Hamilton since 1980, is no stranger to flooding.
He managed to get his trailer towed Sunday to the Red Cross site. The spot on Cumberland Street where he normally parks his trailer is completely underwater, he said.
While Kerns is dealing with protecting his home, his wife is in the hospital in Bellingham undergoing surgery, he said. He can’t be there with her because of COVID-19 restrictions, and said it’s hard to be so far away from her.
“I found a long time ago, all the big things to worry about, I just give them to God,” Kerns said. “He’s always taken care of me.”