Good morning. You have reached the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management Daily Briefing; today is Wednesday, February 5th and the time is 11:45 am.
Evaluations, assessments, and repairs, continue around Whatcom County as a result of this past week’s storms. Some locations still have water surrounding homes or buildings and, while the number of road closures and detours is slowly shrinking, the list is still substantial and it is highly recommended you look at it to see how those impacts may affect your travel within the county.
Advisories, Watches and Warnings:
A “Small Craft Advisory” is in effect until 10:00pm tonight for southwest winds 15-25 knots.
A “Winter Weather Advisory” is in effect until 6:00pm this evening. An additional four to eight inches of snow is expected making travel difficult.
A “Flood Watch” is in effect from 10:00am this morning through Friday afternoon.
The National Weather Service has issued a “Special Weather Statement” for an increased risk of landslides through Friday.
An “Avalanche Warning” has been issued by the Northwest Avalanche Center for the backcountry of the Cascades.
Whatcom County Weather
The weather system we’ve been talking over the last few days has arrived. This system, plus another one arriving Saturday, will continue to pump rain into our area through Saturday. The amount is expected to be less than the last storm but with the ground already saturated, there will be very little rain soaking into the ground and runoff will occur almost immediately. Temperatures will be in the 40s today and tomorrow, while the lows will be in the low 40s tonight and upper 30s tomorrow night. Winds today will be fairly light although Bellingham may see a few gusts later from the south in the 15-20 mph range. The upper elevations are expecting some significant snow over the next four days due to this weather system and another that will arrive on Saturday.
The Nooksack River level has dropped considerably and is expected to remain within its banks during this period of rain; however, small streams, ponds, and small lakes will continue to fill which will likely keep water near or over the roadways. Do not go around barriers or detours that have been placed on the roads; the only thing you lose by turning around and taking a different route is a little time.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
For the Inland and Coastal Waters of Whatcom County, winds from the southwest will be 15-25 knots with wind waves of two to four feet. Tonight, winds will shift to the northwest and decrease to 5-15 knots with wind waves dropping to two feet or less. Tomorrow winds will start out at 5-15 knots and increase later in the day to 15-25 knots so another “Small Craft Advisory” is on the horizon.
Tides at Cherry Point for the next two days:
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.