Hamilton hit hard by floodwaters from Skagit River
HAMILTON, Wash. - There is heartache over the holiday as floodwaters forced people from their homes along the banks of the Skagit River. Rescues of trapped residents continued into Thanksgiving night, with communities downstream bracing for more trouble on Friday.
The flood warnings went out, but a lot of people in the town of Hamilton didn't heed the call until it was too late.
“Levee broke right behind our house,” said Ely Potter, who along with his wife, Sandi, and their children, ended up at a Red Cross shelter. A swollen Skagit River spilled into their trailer, leaving them little time to escape.
“We tried to drive out but the van started floating away while we were trying to get out,” Sandi Potter said.
Volunteer firefighters rescued the potters, and stayed busy through the night pulling other residents to safety around Hamilton.
“Frantic for some people, that's for sure," said Hamilton Mayor Joan Cromley, who estimated at least 40 homes were affected.
Some people took their chances driving down flooded streets. Gary Kirkendall said the options were pretty limited.
“Unless you are going through someone's yard, the streets are pretty full with water,” he said. “It's pretty overflowing."
Skagit County reported nearly 20 road closures due to standing water. Officials actively discouraged people from wading or driving through them. Damage to homes and trailers is still being assessed.
“Not something I was expecting to do on Thanksgiving," Kirkendall said.
Family and friends have set up several GoFundMe accounts to help those residents impacted by the flooding along the Skagit River.