Sedro-Woolley School District Cancels School Amid Historic Flooding


Anna Ferdinand

Floodwaters from the rising Skagit River on Sterling Road in Sedro-Woolley, Monday, November 15, 2021

Cub Staff

By Cub Staff,

Sedro-Woolley School district will close Tuesday after flooding in Skagit County, Whatcom County and beyond has impacted roads and homes in areas along rising rivers.

Jenna McCall, a junior at Sedro-Woolley High School,  struggled to get to school Monday because of the rising Skagit River and the area flooding it has caused.  

“The flooding has allowed my family to not access the roads and get to school,” said McCall. 

The flooding started to get bad Saturday, she said.   “My concerns are people losing the people they love.”

When an adverse weather situation is in the forecast, the district typically starts meeting to prepare several days in advance, said Ruth Richardson, the public information officer for the district.

“Our goal is to serve our students to the extent possible by trying to keep our doors open,” said Richardson in an email before increasing waters caused the district to decide to close schools Monday afternoon. “It’s hard when one area of the district is seriously impacted, such as the Lyman/Hamilton area during a serious flood event, while others see little to no impact.”

According to the Skagit County website Monday Morning, the Skagit river appeared to have crested in Concrete at roughly 38 feet.  The Skagit river was forecasted to crest in Mount Vernon  on Tuesday morning.   The Samish River has crested at 13.33.  

Krista Hynds, an employee at Calico Creations, said people who work in downtown Mount Vernon are concerned about the rising river.

 “They put up the flood barriers and closed the bridge over the river,” said Hynds.  “It took a long time to get to work and people were all at the wall looking at the water. I was told there is a huge log jam coming which has people concerned. ”

According to the United States Geological Survey, USGS, water level data on Skagit River near Mount Vernon saw the volume of water flowing through the skagit river way above the usual amount and still rising. The usual discharge is around 15000 cubic feet per second, and was at 90000 cubic feet per second on Monday morning . 

On Monday many houses are without power, many roads are closed off due to too much water on the road, and some students unable to come to school due school due to the weather. 

Jayden Moors, a student at Sedro-Woolley High-School, woke up at five in the morning and was informed that he had to leave the house because the roads got too bad.

“Our basement is expected to flood like four plus feet,” said Moors.

Monday morning, his basement was flooding with water pouring over the large fields by his house and into his house.

“I mean we knew there was gonna be a flood. I guess people weren’t as prepared for it as they needed to be,”  said Moors.

Flooding in Washington state has been a big problem for a long time, causing millions in damages and damaging hundreds of homes. One of the worst floods recorded happened in February 1996 and was one of the most widespread across the whole Pacific Northwest, according to 

“More than 2,600 homes were flooded, dozens of bridges were lost, an estimated $120 million in damages, and 3 fatalities occurred in Washington,” according to the article 

In an article by Matt Benoi “A Brief Look at Historic Skagit River Floods”  posted on skagit talk, record of flooding dates back to 1896 there were three minor floods in one year, which led to the construction of a dike along the Skagit River. Parts of Sedro-Woolley was under three feet of water, according to the article.

 In 1917 there was a major flood damaging many buildings and displacing railway tracks, and was very expensive to fix. 

Skagit Valley flooding has put places like Hamilton into a state of emergency. Other places have also seen massive flooding and closing down streets and even flood people into there house.

According to goSkagit, current flooding will could rival the flood of 2009 where the river crested at 35.7 feet. 

 “If we can get through the river’s crest on Tuesday/Wednesday, the waters will recede and most of us will be able to get back to normal,” said Richardson.

 However, she says, we will have  many families unable to return to their homes right away. 

“If we can extend grace and friendship to those families, ask them what we can do to help them and try to remove stressers from their students, that is one thing we can do not only as a school district, but also as a larger community. That’s what makes Sedro-Woolley amazing,” says Richardson.

 “During times of crisis, we come together and help our neighbors. We support one another. We lift each other up. That’s what makes our community strong.”

With reporting from Maxwell Hynds, Lillian Carter, Shelby Richardson, Chase Cain-Jaramillo, Haylee Fernando, Caleb Hull, Emmett Mihelich, Luka Murcray, Kyrin Roberson, Jonathan Salinas, Exmer Saucedo Rojas, Nolan Simon, Charles Pepper, Owen Scheib

Water rises from the skagit River in downtown Mount Vernon Monday morning (Krista Hynds )