City prepares for heavy rain, flooding

Squalicum Creek at flood level near Roeder and Squalicum

Following countywide flooding this past week, the pending weather forecast indicates Bellingham can expect up to five inches of rain over the next few days, while the National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for the area.  In preparation, City staff are monitoring Lake Whatcom's water level and water flow gauges in Whatcom Creek and preparing for road closures.

Some areas of the City are prone to flooding during heavy rainfall.  Bellingham Public Works crews are monitoring creeks and streams and working to ensure there are no logjams or other obstructions at bridges and culvert crossings.  If rain or flood water cover city streets, they may be posted as “closed" to traffic. As of 1:30 p.m. today (Feb. 5) the outside lanes of Iowa Street near I-5 are being being closed due to water on the roadway.​

According to Jason Porter, Bellingham's surface and stormwater manager, the City works year-round on management of surface and stormwater issues, including flooding.  Bellingham's Surface and Stormwater Utility covers the cost of flood response, as well as funding for flood relief projects to reduce the risk of damaging floods.

Flooding FAQ:

How do I report water over the road or flooding in my neighborhood?
The City has a 24-hour Stormwater Hotline for this purpose.  Please phone (360) 778-7979 or fill out an online report. (On the City's homepage, search “stormwater hotline".)

Whatcom Creek seems really high, is that a concern?
We are monitoring the Creek and local stream levels. Public Works crews are working to ensure that culverts and bridge supports are not being obstructed by debris and that water is flowing downstream as freely as possible. Levels in the creek will continue to be high until the rain eases and we experience drier conditions.

What do I need to know about flooding in Bellingham?

  • If you see flooding or water over a roadway, please contact the Stormwater Hotline.
  • Do not drive through standing water. It can be difficult to see any drop-offs or underlying street damage.
  • If there are “street closed / water on roadway" signs posted DO NOT drive through.
  • If there is flooding on Iowa Street, the state may the I-5 off-ramp, so plan to have an alternate route.
  • Be proactive about protecting your property from floodwaters.  If you need sandbags, contact Bellingham Public Works via (360) 778-7700 or email AskPW@cob.org for more information.

For weather conditions, visit the National Weather Service website (https://www.weather.gov/sew/).  For information on the City's monitoring and preparations, contact Jason Porter via jporter@cob.org or (360) 778-7799.   

Media Contacts

​Jason​ Porter, Surface and Stormwater Manager
City of Bellingham - Public Works
(360) 778-7799 or jporter@cob.org