Good morning. You have reached the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management Daily Briefing; today is Thursday, February 6th and the time is 8:15 am.
The “Proclamation of Emergency” for the storms and flooding that occurred last weekend continues at this time. Efforts are underway to assess damage, clean-up where possible, and conduct repairs as conditions allow.
Advisories, Watches and Warnings:
A “Flood Watch” remains in effect for Whatcom County through Friday afternoon.
The National Weather Service has issued a “Special Weather Statement” for an increased risk of landslides through Friday due to moderate to heavy rain forecast.
An “Avalanche Warning” has been issued by the Northwest Avalanche Center for the backcountry of the Cascades through 11:59pm this evening.
Whatcom County Weather
Rain will continue today with variable light winds and temperatures that reach the mid-40s. Tonight winds will continue to be light and temperatures will drop to the mid to upper 30s; rain will continue. Tomorrow, temperatures will once again reach the mid-40s but the rain intensity will increase, especially in the foothills where Maple Falls and NewHalem could see heavy rain throughout the day. As we move into Saturday afternoon and evening we will finally start to see the moisture stream break down and move out of the area. As things stand now, the National Weather Service is predicting we’ll see sun on Sunday with temperatures in the mid-40s. Because of the colder temperatures at higher elevations, road conditions may have frost or ice on them; if you are driving, be extra careful regardless of the elevation as there is no telling where you will encounter that change.
The Nooksack River level will see a couple of spikes over the next several days although they remain well below flood levels. That doesn’t mean areas already flooded will not continue to experience flood conditions and, as rain continue to fall, small streams and water draining into ponds and low areas will continue to cause problems with roads. Check the Public Works website for a current list of impacted roads. Remember, do not go around barriers or detours where water is involved; the only thing you will lose is a little time by going a different route.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
For the Inland and Coastal Waters of Whatcom County, today we will see winds from the north or northwest today at 10 knots causing one foot wind waves. Winds will switch to the southwest tomorrow and increase to 15-25 knots which will probably lead to a “Small Craft Advisory”. Tomorrow night winds will switch to the west at 20-30 knots causing three to five foot wind waves.
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. Do not go around signs or barriers; they are there for your protection and going a different route will only cost you a little bit of time.
This briefing line is not updated on weekends unless an incident occurs.