Incident Hotline

-Incident Hotline - Friday, January 17, 2020  (2:00 pm Update)     CHECK OUT OUR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT BLOG!

Asterisk (**) and Bolded items denote added or changed entries

There are no active incidents at this time.

Advisories, Watches and Warnings:

A “Small Craft Advisory” is in effect until 4:00pm this afternoon for winds from the southeast at 15-25 knots. 

A “Gale Warning” is in effect from 4:00pm this afternoon until 1:00pm Saturday.  

A “Wind Advisory” is in effect from 10:00pm this evening until 10:00am tomorrow morning for southeast winds 25-35 mph with gusts to 50 mph. 

**A “Winter Storm Warning” is now in effect from 10:00pm this evening to 4:00pm Saturday above 2000 feet.  Heavy snow is expected with total snow accumulation of 10-20 inches.  Travel could be very difficult.  Snow levels will rise from below 1000 feet this evening to around 2500 feet Saturday.**

Whatcom County Weather

Snow showers will return to the lower areas of the county tonight. Winds are a little lighter but that will be short-lived as we will see gusty southeast or northeast winds tonight that could approach 40 mph or a little stronger especially in the north and coastal areas of the county. Temperatures today will hover near freezing and drop below freezing this evening. Tomorrow will be slightly warmer as will Sunday. Precipitation is all over the map so you may experience snow, or a mixture of snow and rain, or all rain at times over the next three days. Frost or ice can easily form under these conditions without any warning and catch you off-guard when driving – slow down. If you’re headed towards the ski area, you are likely to run into some sizable accumulations of snow. Above 2000 feet the prediction is for eight to twelve inches of the white stuff. Expect difficult travel conditions east of Glacier.

The Nooksack River has leveled off and there is no change predicted for the next five days.

Coastal Weather for Lummi Nation, Birch Bay, Lummi Island, Strait of Georgia, Pt. Roberts, Bellingham, and Blaine 

For the Inland Coastal Waters including those of Whatcom County, expect increasing winds from the southeast first to 15-25 knots and then east at 30-40 knots later. Wind waves of two to four feet will increase to five to seven feet. Those winds will continue into tomorrow and even when they drop, expect 25-35 knots for awhile. Expect another Small Craft Advisory to be issued for a period after the gale warning as winds will still be in that range.

We are in a period of King Tides once again. Strong winds, coupled with a high tide could create some tidal overflow. Tides at Cherry Point for the next couple of days looks like this:

Cherry Point Tides
January 17, 2020
1033
10.01

January 17, 2020
1744

2.19
January 17, 2020
2352
6.14

January 18, 2020
0426

4.41
January 18, 2020
1107
9.76

January 18, 2020
1841

0.96

Emergency Preparedness

1.  Your "Winter Safety Kit" should already be in your vehicle; see the Washington State Department of Transportation website for a list of items to put in your kit.  Also, get in the habit or removing as much snow as possible from your vehicle before driving.  Snow blowing over the exterior of your windshield while driving can cause the inside to fog up.  And, leaving your rear or side windows covered or partially clear places you and others at risk as well.  

2.  Watch for ice on the roadways especially where the temperature drops below the freezing level. And don’t forget, shaded caused by overhanging trees, mountains, or even buildings can shield the sun from thawing the frost and you could go from a dry area to patches of frost which could cause a loss of traction or vehicle control. Elevation will also make a difference as to where the freezing level is so keep alert.

3.  Watch for packed snow or patches of packed snow if you are headed to the ski area or crossing the Cascades over the next couple of days. Slush or snow can build under your vehicle tires can cause your vehicle to ride on top of an unstable surface and can lead to loss of traction and vehicle control.  And even if you’re not headed to the ski area, there are enough hilly roads in Whatcom County where you could travel high enough to reach rain/snow mixtures or all snow conditions.  Just because the weather service calls for snow above a certain elevation does not mean it can’t snow below that elevation.  A degree or two can make a large difference in the type and amount of snow falling.

4.  Keep an eye on the avalanche notifications and tree well warnings. You can find information about both on the Mount Baker Ski Area Website Home Page.  Currently the avalanche danger is "Considerable" which  means there are dangerous conditions.  See the Avalanche Center website for additional information.

5.  Don’t drive through water flowing over roads. It only take three to six inches of fast moving water to knock you off your feet and another few inches to move vehicles as large as SUVs.  Low areas flood easily and even though water may not be flowing, the water could cause your vehicle to stall leaving you stranded.

6.  With the ground saturated, the chances for landslides have also increased.  Be aware of your surroundings and leave the area at the first indication of terrain instability.

Remember, think safety and be prepared!  This hotline is not updated on weekends or holidays unless an incident occurs.

Contact: Wallace Kost, 360.778.7165, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management