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WA, Canada agree to address flooding near NW border

March 16, 2022 GMT

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — U.S. and Canadian government leaders said Tuesday they have agreed to work together to address flooding near the northwest Washington state border with Canada on the Nooksack River.

The Bellingham Herald reported Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee and British Columbia Premier John Horgan in a joint statement pledged “to build a sustained and ongoing transboundary initiative to address Nooksack River flooding prevention and response.”

Details will be disclosed this spring, the statement said. Flooding on the Nooksack is happening more frequently and with greater intensity amid climate change.

Storms in November 2021 caused two rounds of flooding on the river which displaced an estimated 500 Whatcom County residents while some 14,000 people in Canada were evacuated.

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Damage estimates in Whatcom County have topped $150 million and totaled in the billions across British Columbia, according to the statement and newspaper reporting.

It was the second time in less than two years that Nooksack River communities have suffered flood damage as subtropical storms known as atmospheric rivers brought torrential rain, while melting snow in the North Cascades added to the swollen river system.

“This challenge is bigger and more urgent than any level of government can solve on its own,” Inslee said in the statement.