Good morning. You have reached the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management Daily Briefing Line. Today is Friday, February 21st and the time is 8:30 am.
The official term now being used to describe the novel coronavirus is "COVID-19". Information on the "COVID-19” can be found on the Whatcom County Health Department website.
The “Proclamation of Emergency” signed by the Whatcom County Executive concerning the storms and flooding several weeks ago remains in effect at this time. Individual and businesses affected by floodwater are requested to report damages to 360.788.5311.
Advisories, Watches and Warnings:
As far as advisories, watches or warnings for the county, there are none at this time.
Whatcom County Weather
Good things come to an end and we’re going to see our sunny days replaced by some rain in the lowlands and snow in the upper elevations. The rain won’t cause any flooding problems but it will be around for the next four or five days with some rain/snow mixtures in the foothills. Temperatures will continue to reach the mid-40s for the highs (Sumas may hit 50s degrees today) while dropping down to around 40 degrees at night. Higher elevations will be about 10 degrees colder and the ski area is expecting 6-12 inches of snow over the weekend which could cause some driving challenges if you’re headed there. NewHalem could also see an inch or two of accumulation on Sunday. Winds will be light today but will pick up overnight to 10-15mph. Tomorrow and Sunday, we could see some gusty winds in the low 20 mph range.
The Nooksack River level will see a little spike of maybe a foot or so on Sunday into Monday but that poses no flooding issues. Still, if your plans include being on or near the river, don’t get caught off-guard by the rise in the river level.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
For the Coastal and Inland waters of Whatcom County, today will see winds from the south at 10 knots. Th3 wind will increase to 5-15 knots later and then 15-25 knots overnight with wind waves of one to three feet. Tomorrow winds will be from the south at 20-30 knots with wind waves of two to four feet. Expect a “Small Craft Advisory” to be issued for these higher winds. On Sunday winds are predicted to be 25-35 knots from the south so listen to marine weather for additional advisories or warnings.
For the tides, today was the last day of King Tides for awhile. Otherwise, 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.