Incident Hotline

Incident Hotline - Tuesday, March 26, 2019 

Advisories, Watches and Warnings:

There are no advisories, watches, or warnings at this time.

The Northwest Avalanche Center reduced the avalanche conditions to Moderate Avalanche Danger yesterday for the Cascades including Mt Baker which means there are heightened avalanche conditions on certain terrain features.

.  Birch Bay Drive Remains Impacted:

  1. Birch Bay Drive north of Harborview has a suffered significant damage. Whatcom County Public Works has opened one lane northbound only between Harborview and Shintaffer with a 10 miles per hour speed limit. Southbound traffic from Birch Bay Village and Birch Point must use Shintaffer to Lincoln / Anderson roads for ingress and egress. Persons driving South from Shintaffer to Harborview may be subject to citation and a fine. There is no date for repairs to Birch Bay Drive .
  2. Birch Bay Drive south of Harborview - Whatcom County Public Works has opened Birch Bay Drive south of Harborview, both north and south, however the shoulders remain closed due to damage and debris. Pedestrians and bicyclists should use caution in this area until cleanup is complete.

Whatcom County Weather

The steady rain has moved out of the area but the chance for showers in the county will be with us for a good period of the day.  Clearing will continue from west to east and by this evening we should  have mostly clear skies throughout the county.  Temperatures will be in the mid-50s for the most part  with lows tonight dropping into the mid 30s.  NewHalem and the ski area will be at the freezing level or below.  Winds will be out of the southwest generally in the 10 mph range; sometime during the night they will switch to the northeast.  Tomorrow looks like a sunny day across the county with highs reaching the upper 50s to low 60s. The only issue is there will be an east/northeast wind that will be over 10mph with gusts as high as 20 mph in the Sumas area.  A chance for showers returns tomorrow night and those showers will be with us off and on for the next three days or so.  They will be on the lighter side.  Temperatures will continue in the upper 50s and low 60s throughout the period with the lower temperatures in the NewHalem and ski areas.

The rain over the evening will not cause the Nooksack to rise and you can expect the river level to remain about the same for the next five days.

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

For Coastal Whatcom County, the winds will shift between the south , east and north over the next 24-36 hours but they will remain at 15 knots or less.  Wind wave of two feet or less should be expected during this period.

High tide at Cherry Point tomorrow will be 8.1’ at 12 minutes after midnight and another one of 7.5’ at 9:35 am. On Thursday, high tide at 1:35am will be 8.2’ and then 7.0’ at 10:12 am.

 Emergency Preparedness

Temperatures rising and falling through the freezing level will cause ice or snow to melt followed by freezing when the temperatures drop.  The frozen water can be difficult to spot until you begin to slide.  Likewise, frost can form in open areas and on bridges, overpasses and on/off ramps to the interstate as well as sides of the road.  These are hazardous conditions that can catch you off guard and affect your ability to control your vehicle.  Be especially careful as the sun drops below the horizon at night and during the day rounding curves where mountains or trees have blocked the sun from evaporating any frost or frozen water on the road. 

Put your winter survival kit in your car.  Include extra blankets, flashlight, extra batteries, food, and water as a minimum.  See “Winter driving-Emergency Car Kit” on the Washington State Department of Transportation website.  Did you know Mount Baker had 111” of snow in March and another 86” in April last year? As a matter of fact, last night the ski area saw four inches of new snow and there remains a chance for a rain/snow mixture later this week. So, you can still run into winter weather conditions for at least another month or so. With some of those weather systems can come rapidly changing temperatures as well as strong wind.

Make sure your gas tank is at least half-full during winter months.  If you become stranded and run your vehicle to keep warm, make sure the exhaust is clear of obstacles including snow, and open the window slightly to keep carbon monoxide from building up inside your vehicle.

If you’re headed to the ski area or backcountry make sure you’re aware of tree well and deep snow dangers along with the current avalanche conditions.  They can change rapidly.

Remember, think safety and be prepared!  This hotline will not be updated over the weekend unless an incident occurs.  

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