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Video: USCG Rescues 10 From Severe Flooding in Western Washington

rescue forks
Courtesy USCG

Published Nov 16, 2021 10:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued 10 people - including a baby - from rising floodwaters near the town of Forks, Washington. 

Forks is a remote town on the Olympic Peninsula, and it is no stranger to wet weather, receiving about 110-120 inches of rain every year. However, the "atmospheric river" that washed over the coast of Washington and British Columbia over the past few days delivered an extreme amount of rainfall Monday, resulting in serious flooding in Western Washington. Near Forks, the Bogachiel and Calawah Rivers were both far above flood stage.

On Monday morning, 10 people at a location to the west of Forks were cut off by the flooding and in danger, and county officials requested the Coast Guard's help with a helicopter evacuation. Helicopter aircrews out of Sector Columbia River responded to the scene and successfully hoisted six adults and four children, including a baby. 

It was the latest in a string of search and rescue calls related to severe weather in the Pacific Northwest. On Friday, Coast Guard aircrews rescued 12 people from a flooded RV park in Neskowin, Oregon. On Monday, two rescue helicopters retrieved five survivors from a life raft after a fishing vessel took on water and sank in rough weather off the coast of Coos Bay.

In British Columbia, the impact of the weather system has been even more severe: road and rail infrastructure around the key port city of Vancouver has been damaged by high river levels and landslides, hampering the port's ability to keep up with cargo. The port is entirely cut off from all rail services, prompting port officials to warn of delays for container ship operators.