Good morning. You have reached the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management Daily Briefing; today is Thursday, January 30th and the time is 10:00 am.
With regards to the coronavirus, please see the Whatcom County Health Department website for current information.
Advisories, Watches and Warnings:
A “Small Craft Advisory” is in effect from 10:00am today until 10:00am tomorrow morning for southeast winds at 20-30 knots.
A “Gale Watch” is in effect from Friday morning to Friday night for south winds 25-35 knots.
A “Flood Watch” is in effect from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning.
A “High Wind Watch” is in effect from Friday morning through late Friday night for southerly winds 25-40 mph with gusts to 60s mph.
Expect some of these to change to warnings and some additional notifications to come out as a result of this storm.
Whatcom County Weather.
Wind, rain, moderate temperatures, rising snow levels, and thoroughly saturated ground will combine to create minor to major flooding over the next four days along the Nooksack River and smaller streams. The weather system will arrive in our area later today. Rainfall could be anywhere from two inches along the coast to as much as six to eight inches in the upper elevations over the next several days which will also increase the rate of snow melting. Winds will be from the south or southeast and for the next 36-48 hours will continue to increase reaching 25-40 mph with higher gusts by the time we get to tomorrow morning so some power outages should be expected. This will also increase the rate of snow melting at higher elevations. Temperatures will reach into the low 50s tomorrow and Saturday before dropping back Saturday night.
While all forks of the Nooksack River are a concern as we head into Friday and the weekend, smaller streams may also flood from all the rain. Friday through Monday will be the most likely timeframe for flooding. Saturated ground is causing water to pool in the fields so any rain that falls will drain into rivers and streams. Now is the time to think about alternate routes if main roads become impassable due to water over the road. Before you travel, check to make sure the road is clear and even if it’s clear when you leave, it may not be that way when you return. Think about alternate ways to get home. No matter what, do not attempt to drive through water flowing over the road.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
For the Inland Coastal Waters expect south winds at 20-30 knots today dropping back a little overnight and then steadily picking up tomorrow and possibly reaching 35-45 knots later in the day causing six to eight foot wind waves. Check Marine Weather constantly for changing conditions.
January 30, 2020
January 31, 2020
Here are a few emergency management reminders:
First, put your Winter Safety Kit in your vehicle if you haven’t done so already. Check the Washington State Department of Transportation website for a list of items to have in your kit.
Second, watch for ice and slush 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.
Third, 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 building up 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.
Fourth, keep an eye on the avalanche notifications and tree well warning. You can find information about both on the Mount Baker Ski Area Website Home Page.
Fifth, 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.
This briefing line is not updated on weekends unless an incident occurs.