Good morning. You have reached the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management Daily Briefing; today is Sunday, February 2nd; this is a special Sunday briefing due to the flooding still occurring in Whatcom County at this time.
Yesterday saw numerous water rescues as people attempted to cross area where water was over the road or flowing over the road. It cannot be overemphasized the danger associated with this not only to yourself but the responders dispatched to the scene. Whatcom County Public works and Washington State Department of Transportation have placed numerous barricades along routes of travel for your safety; adhere to them.
Check the Whatcom County Public Works website for a list of closures currently identified. Expect the list to change throughout the day as the river and stream levels continue to fall. Refer to the Whatcom County Public Works website and the “Road Closures and Restrictions” page for a current list of road closures at http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/952/Road-Closures-Restrictions.
High water forced the evacuation of Marietta this morning; responders are currently going door-to-door to evacuate residents. The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Cordata Presbyterian Church here in Bellingham.
High water entered Sumas last night and the city is inaccessible at this time from the US side of the border. People wanting to cross the border will fing US Customs and Border protection rerouting traffic to other Ports of Entry at this time The Sumas Advent Christian Church has opened a shelter at Front and Cherry Street.
Advisories, Watches and Warnings:
A “Flood Warning” continues for the Ferndale area caused by the Nooksack River exceeding its banks and levees.
A Special Weather Statement from the National Weather Service states the risk of landslide continues this morning and will gradually decrease over the early part of this week.
Whatcom County Weather.
Cooler temperatures are expected today with a slight chance of a rain/snow mixture later in the day and overnight. No accumulations are expected. Expect highs in the low 40s and low temperatures tonight around 32 degrees in the lower areas and 20s in the higher elevations. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with temperatures again in the low 40s for highs. Evening lows will be around freezing in the Bellingham area but low 20s in NewHalem. There is a chance for some snow down to the valley floor on Tuesday; accumulations are predicted in the one to two inch range. Higher elevations can expect a few inches more. Winds for the next several days will finally be on the lighter side, generally around 10 mph from the south or southwest. While the next couple of days provide somewhat of a respite, there is another possible flood causing storm system in the Pacific that will reach out area sometime Tuesday.
The Nooksack River level is dropping at all reporting locations but from Ferndale south people are still dealing with 20 foot river levels at this time. Sumas saw the Nooksack River flow push north along the Sumas River last night and currently remains isolated from the south. Pooling in the lower areas with slow drainage will plague most areas of lower Whatcom County throughout the day. Remember, driving into water flowing over the road is extremely dangerous and even driving standing water could lead to your vehicle stalling leaving you stranded.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
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.