State of Emergency Declared in Wash. as Hundreds Are Displaced from Homes amid Severe Floods

Extreme flooding in parts of Washington and Canada have flooded roadways and left hundreds without homes as authorities continue rescue efforts

washington flooding
Flooding in Washington. Photo: Elaine Thompson/AP/Shutterstock

Extreme flooding in parts of Washington and Canada left hundreds displaced and in need of rescue while thousands were left without power.

Following days of extreme wind and rain, brought on an atmospheric river aimed at the Pacific Northwest, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a severe weather emergency on Monday.

At one point on Monday, over 158,000 customers in Washington were without power, according to the Associated Press. As of Tuesday, over 47,000 people remain without power, according to PowerOutage.US.

Since Friday, the state has been experiencing a "severe" storm system creating "flooding conditions on multiple rivers," according to the governor's announcement.

In addition to "significant" power outages, a number of roads have been closed due to the flooding, landslides and mudslides.

"I've lost track of how many road closures we've hit and detours we've taken — nothing compared to what so many folks are dealing w flooded homes and vehicles," Seattle news reporter Michelle Esteban tweeted on Monday afternoon.

As of Monday afternoon. four rivers in western Washington had experienced record flooding, according to the Weather Service in Seattle. Record rainfall was also reported in the towns of Bellingham and Quillayute.

In addition to dangerous conditions on the road, hundreds of citizens have been displaced, and authorities continue to look for those who are missing.

Over 500 people were displaced from their homes due to flooding in Whatcom County, an area located near the British Columbia border, according to a news release from the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office on Monday night.

"Extensive search and rescue efforts began early this morning and continued throughout the day. WCSO's rescue vehicle was able to reach many residents, and boats were used in places where the water was too deep," officials wrote, noting that search efforts will continue on Tuesday.

One dramatic video from the U.S. Coast Guard documented a rescue in Washington of six adults and four children — including a baby.

In the clip, a mother can be seen holding her infant in her arms while awaiting rescue.

Authorities in Canada were able to rescue around 300 travelers who were trapped by mudslides on British Columbia roadways Monday, according to CNN.

Per CBC News, up to 50 people who were trapped on a Vancouver highway were children.

"You could see the waterfall coming, and I thought: 'Is this going to hit?' It sounds cliche, but I really thought: 'Is this the day I am done?'" Cory Lysohirka, who was stranded while driving home with his wife and two children, told the outlet after being rescued.

washington flooding
Flooding in Washington. Elaine Thompson/AP/Shutterstock

On Tuesday, rescue crews will return to affected areas to continue their search, according to CNN.

"Determining if vehicles or people are unaccounted for has been made difficult by the number of slides in southwestern BC, the impact on infrastructure, and multiple communities under evacuation orders," Emergency Management British Columbia communications director Jordan Turner told the outlet.

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The entire city of Merritt — located about three hours outside Vancouver, and home to over 7,000 people — was also put under an evacuation order, the Washington Post reported. According to the city, two bridges had been inundated by the floodwaters as of Monday while rising waters left their wastewater treatment plant inoperable.

As record rainfall and strong winds were reported across the area, tens of thousands across British Columbia were left without power, per the newspaper.

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