Army Corps flood fight teams mobilized as several rivers predicted to exceed flood stage

Published Jan. 31, 2020

The Emergency Operations Center at the Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is activated until further notice as flood teams have been mobilized for the Skagit and Nooksack river basins in western Washington.

Seattle District is prepositioned to assist the Town of Lyman with emergency protective measures to reduce flood risk posed by erosion adjacent to some of the town’s critical infrastructure. Crews will work to extend the length of a previously constructed buried rock trench to reinforce the upstream channel bank along the Skagit River. The temporary work will start today and is estimated to take about three days.

Seattle District has mobilized to deliver sandbags and supersacks to Whatcom County and the City of Ferndale in the Nooksack basin and to deliver two pumps and supersacks in Skagit County along with sandbags to the City of Hamilton in the Skagit basin.

Public Law 84-99 enables the Corps to assist state and local authorities in flood fight activities and cost share in the repair of flood protection structures. The purpose is to prevent loss of life and minimize property damage associated with severe weather.

The Seattle District Reservoir Control Center will begin 24-hour operation January 31 to ensure real-time reservoir monitoring and regulation over the weekend. The National Weather Service is currently predicting flows on the Skagit River that would trigger the Army Corps to take control of the Upper Baker and Ross dams.

During flooding, the Corps operates the two Skagit dams, along with Corps-owned dams, to reduce impacts from flooding downstream. Seattle City Light owns and normally operates Ross Dam. Puget Sound Energy owns Upper Baker Dam. The reservoirs behind the Skagit dams are at low levels and have reservoir space available for flood risk operations.

The Corps’ reservoirs behind Howard Hanson Dam on the Green River and Mud Mountain Dam on the White River are empty ahead of the expected storm.

Private citizens seeking sandbags should contact their local government offices. 

The National Weather Service issues flood watches and warnings and should be consulted for that information.

Public Affairs Office

Release no. 20-003