This story from InvestigateWest was produced as part of a collaboration with the Center for Public Integrity, Columbia Journalism Investigations and Type Investigations. It is republished here with permission.
From her driveway in the early evening of Nov. 14, Maryann Snudden could see the Nooksack River — its bank typically a mile away — creeping over the main road in Everson, a city of 2,500 tucked in the foothills of the Cascade mountains in northwest Washington. The swelling river swallowed roadside shrubs and drew closer to her doorstep. And closer.
The sound of pummeling rain boomed through the darkness. By midnight, three feet of water pooled in Snudden’s living room. Soon, an avalanche of debris and freezing floodwater overtook the home that Snudden, a widow, had bought with her mother-in-law only three years earlier.
“The water ripped through so quickly that it shoved my bed through the wall,” Snudden recalled.
The deluge reached as high as the ceiling, inundating furniture, photos, clothes, books, electronics, everything. In the kitchen, the powerful currents pried two refrigerators and a water heater off the floor.... Read more