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U.S.-Canada border reopens at Sumas as floodwaters start to recede

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UPDATE: The border crossing has reopened in Sumas, but SR-9 remained closed as of 10:45 a.m. Monday. 

SUMAS, Wash. -- Parts of Whatcom County are underwater Sunday after widespread flooding.

The U.S.-Canada border crossing is closed at Sumas in Whatcom County because of major flooding in the area.

According to the state Department of Transportation, SR-9 is closed as well in the area.

In Sumas, floodwaters filled the streets, giving way to alternative modes of transportation. Bailey Padden and his friends jumped in kayaks for a little fun.

"This is Lake Sumas!" Padden joked before paddling away on a residential street.

While some neighbors watched the water stop short of their houses, others were not as lucky. Willie Euper said he woke up to several inches of water in his home.

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"At about 5:30 this morning, we heard a big boom on the side of our house, then all of a sudden it came in like a tidal wave," Euper said. "They told us about the big flood coming and everybody was kind of skeptical 'cause I've been out here for 11 years and I've never seen this."

Down the road, Sarah Ivanhoe sat on her front porch. Her home is surrounded by water.

"All the ductwork is under the house so we're probably looking to replace all of our heating duct," she said. "We turned our heater off because we could hear the water gurgling through it."

For now, people in Sumas are forced to wait for the water to recede.

"It's going down, slowly, but it's going down," Euper said.

All Nooksack Valley schools are closed Monday because of flooding.

Videos show submerged vehicles and fast-flowing water over roadways after the Nooksack River overflowed its banks.

Sumas Police Chief Daniel DeBruin told Q13 News Sunday that he had been at the police station since 3 a.m. Saturday responding to countless calls and coordinating sandbagging efforts at city hall.

He said floodwaters have cut off access  to the small town's police station and city hall.

The American Red Cross has opened a flood evacuation shelter due to flooding along the Nooksack River in the Marietta area (North & west of Bellingham – west of Bellingham International Airport). Anyone needing shelter or assistance can go to the Red Cross Evacuation Shelter.

Evacuating residents are encouraged to bring the following for each member of their family: prescription and emergency medication, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents and other comfort items. Additionally, special items for children and infants, such as diapers, formulas and toys, should be brought, along with other items for family members who may have other needs.

The flood watch for western Washington has ended, but the National Weather Service says a handful of rivers remain above flood stage: the Skagit River near Mount Vernon, the Skokomish River at Potlach, the White River near Auburn, the Nooksack at Ferndale, the Snoqualmie River near Carnation, and the Snohomish River near Monroe and at Snohomish.

The heavy rains and mild temperatures also caused a landslide on I-5 North near Bellingham Saturday, shutting the interstate down for several hours.

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