We will be staying at least one more night here in the shelter before we can get down the mountain and find a motel to hole up in, and get ahold of FIMA, our insurance company, and a realtor.
Yeah, a realtor. We're selling our house and property. We'll never feel safe there again.
Here's what happened.
Sumas is four feet below sea level, and back in the 1800s it was a shallow lake, not fields. The area was drained via a system of canals to open up the land for agriculture.
Usually when it's flooded in Sumas, it's just been rain accumulation and the runoff from the couple of creeks that go through town, combined with a really high water table. The whole town turned into a big, shallow mud puddle, and only a couple of times. No big deal.
This time was different.
We had been having torrential rain storms for the past month almost every night, all falling on land that had been baked solid by last summers dry conditions. But then, two days ago, we got a hard southerly rainstorm that came through, with high winds and sideways, firehose-type precip, nonstop.
The town just south of us is called Nooksack, because the Nooksack river runs through it, and it's a deep, swift river with tall embankments built all along it's bed through the flatlands. All the rain that fell emptied into the whole of the Nooksack, from where it starts on Mt. Baker and downward until it abruptly hits the flatlands, where it just overtopped all the levees and spread out over the fields. The floodwaters crept out over the nine miles between us and Nooksack, and came spilling DOWN into Sumas over the railroad embankments, and I know because at one point we were stranded on one such embankment wondering why the water was higher on the south side than on our side, and trippin' balls watching it come cascading down into town. That's why the water level rose so rapidly beginning at around 8:35 am. All that river water had just crested the railroad embankments.
Our house is an unrepairable biohazard now. The floors and the foundations were pretty iffy, and we were going to wait and re-do them this summer. Now we don't have to.
We are for the present time homeless, and will be until we can get down off this mountain.
Here's the thing I can't get over - how nice this facility is! It's like the grade school I attended. Everyone has been so kind and the food is pretty good, too. We're the only flood refugees here, but the place is also a food bank and a Head Start - community center with multiple resources.
In fact, we left this very place, Kendall, where we lived less than a mile down the road from where I sit typing this, because it had become a slum in the deep woods, where meth and crime were rampant. We moved to Sumas to get our daughter into a better school district, so that worked out. But here we are right back where we started from, getting our butts saved by a facility that didn't exist here ( and really needed to be here) when we moved away.
Our plans for the present are - assess the house, contact our insurance and all the other resources at hand, get an apartment or something in Bellingham to be closer to where the Biker works, get our household situation together and then wait for further developments. I foresee a huge garage sale in our future.