Rains tapering off but Whatcom County slide risk continues (w/ video)


Mareitta flooding

Sean Jones gets the mail in front of his Mareitta home while the mail truck drives through the partially flooded road, Thursday, March 6, 2014 on Marine Drive.


Whatcom County Public Works crews spent much of Thursday, March 6, putting up warning signs about street flooding and clearing storm drains, but most of the problems appeared to be minor.

More than 25 county streets were reported as having water or debris over the roadway. The county keeps updates on its website, co.whatcom.wa.us/publicworks/roadclosures.

Nearly 2 inches of rainfall was recorded from Sunday through Wednesday at Bellingham International Airport. The National Weather Service has warned that the rain, especially periods of heavy rain, could trigger landslides because much of the area's soils are already saturated.

Those heavier downpours should end Friday morning, with more typical cloudy weather with a chance of showers through the weekend, said NWS meteorologist Art Gaebel.

After the rains die down, the risk of landslides will continue for a few days as the soil remains unstable. Chuckanut Drive and Mount Baker Highway are among the most slide-prone areas in the county.

Drivers also need to be careful on other roads where water is pooling. Agencies recommend using another route rather than going through a street where the water is deep enough you can't see the road surface.

Aside from the risk of the car stalling, driver can't see debris or obstacles under the water, and deep water can make it difficult to see where the shoulder ends and ditches begin.

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