Flooding fears hit Northwest due to 'atmospheric river'

<p><p>BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Flood watches were issued for much of western Washington as storms associated with multiple “atmospheric rivers” threaten parts of the Northwest that saw heavy damage from extreme weather earlier this month.</p></p><p><p>The National Weather Service warned that flooding was possible through Monday afternoon in places like Bellingham and the greater Seattle area. Heavy rains and rising rivers were expected over the weekend in the Cascade and Olympic mountains.</p></p><p><p>The moisture is from atmospheric rivers — huge plumes of moisture extending over the Pacific and into the Northwest — and could bring up to 3 inches of rain in some areas hit by the recent flooding, forecasters said.</p></p><p><p>The state is still assessing millions of dollars in damage from the last atmospheric rivers.</p></p><p><p>In northwest Washington’s Whatcom County, officials said damage costs could reach as high as $50 million.</p></p><p><p>During that time the U.S.-Canada border closed in the small city of Sumas, three bridges in Bellingham were closed and landslides blocked Interstate 5 south of Bellingham.</p></p>