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Heavy rain could increase flooding risk in western Washington this week

River levels are expected to rise later this week after heavy rain soaks western Washington and snow levels skyrocket.

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — One week after historic flooding devastated northwest Washington, more rain and the risk of flooding is on the way, although it won’t be nearly as severe.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Hydrologic Outlook on Wednesday that warns rising snow levels combined with heavier rain will cause rivers to rise, bringing the threat of flooding to western Washington between Thursday and Saturday.

From Wednesday evening through Friday morning, the Cascades could see 2-3 inches of rain, and the lowlands could see 0.5-1 inches, according to Meteorologist Rich Marriott. The heaviest rainfall will be Thursday evening and night on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington coast and central and north Cascades.

Another system Saturday may bring more rain, although amounts are uncertain at this point.

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Flood-prone areas, such as farmland and low-lying roadways, may be minorly inundated from the weather system, according to the weather service. This includes the Cascades of King County northward, as well as Clallam County. 

In northern Washington, the Nooksack River at North Cedarville and Ferndale is expected to be near flood stage on Friday and Sunday. The Skagit River at Concrete and Mount Vernon is also expected to be near flood stage on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

The Skokomish River in Mason County will be under a Flood Watch from Thursday evening through late Saturday night. Minor flooding is forecast on the Skokomish River at Potlatch on Friday and Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Whatcom County is still recovering from floodwaters that inundated Sumas, Everson and Ferndale. More than 80% of the buildings in Sumas were damaged, including 300 homes and 35 businesses.

Teams from the Emergency Management Division of the Washington State Military Department began inspecting flood-damaged homes and businesses in Whatcom County on Monday, which is the first step before requesting federal relief funds.