These Daily Briefings on Incidents, Advisories, Watches and Warnings, current weather and Emergency Management tips are published Monday through Friday, as well as during times of increased awareness or actual events.
Due to the warm weather conditions ahead and decreasing fuel moisture levels, the Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office will be enacting restrictions on open burning in unincorporated Whatcom County starting at 0800 on Monday, July 27, 2020 until further notice. For more information on the countywide burn ban, please refer to this press release.
Effective July 28, 2020, outdoor burning, the use of charcoal briquettes, and prescribed burns are banned on all forest lands within the State of Washington under Department of Natural Resources fire protection through September 30, 2020. This ban applies to all forested parcels being assessed for DNR fire protection, in or out of fire districts. This date may be extended or shortened based upon ongoing fire conditions. For more information on the statewide burn ban, please refer to this commissioner’s order.
The U.S. and Canada have for a third time extended an order closing their shared border to nonessential traffic. The move delays the border’s reopening by another 30 days, until at least August 21. This includes both vehicular traffic as well as recreational boating between the countries.
The “Proclamation of Emergency” signed by the Whatcom County Executive concerning COVID-19 remains in effect. Information about Whatcom County’s response to COVID-19 is available at the Joint Information Center’s COVID-19 website.
Whatcom County is in Phase 2 of the Washington Safe Start Plan, and does not yet meet eligibility requirements to apply for Phase 3. Simplistically, social distancing, the mask directive and groups of 5 or less are the guidelines of Phase 2. More info about Phase 2 in Whatcom County can be found here, and updates can be found here.
Washington state has implemented a cloth mask mandate requiring the wearing of a mask in public indoors and wherever a social distance of six feet cannot be maintained outdoors. More info can be found here and here.
Advisories, Watches and Warnings:
There is a heat advisory in effect from 1200 today to midnight tonight.
Whatcom County Weather
Mostly dry conditions are expected over the next few days with just a slight chance for a stray shower or two this morning. A few rumbles of thunder may occur this morning as well. Temperatures will be several degrees cooler today and the cooling trend will continue Saturday as well. Marine air will push into the region tonight, bringing low clouds and the possibility for some fog as well.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
For the Coastal and Inland waters of Whatcom County, we can expect southerly wind 10 to 20 knots, rising to 15 to 25 knots in the afternoon. Wind waves should be 2 to 4 feet. Tonight, the winds should shift southwesterly 15 to 25 knots, becoming southerly 5 to 15 knots after midnight, with wind waves 2 to 4 feet, subsiding to 2 feet or less after midnight.
Tides at Cherry Point for the next two days:
Here are a few emergency management reminders:
COVID-19: Everyone in Washington State, including Whatcom County, is directed to wear a face covering while at any indoor public space and any outdoor public space where you may be within 6 feet of someone who does not live with you. You can find more info about face coverings and other protective actions here and here.
Tubing the Nooksack Tips:
Tubing is one of the greatest American summer pastimes, right up there with backyard cookouts, pool parties, and leaving work early on Fridays. It combines relaxing on the water and kicking back. During the warm-weather months, the Nooksack is open up to tubers. But this isn’t a lazy river and you’re going to need a game plan.
The most important thing that determines a river’s tube-ability is water level and flow rate. Too high, and the current will be moving too fast for tubing to be safe. If the flow rate is too low, you may end up walking instead of drifting. Flow rate varies, so check beforehand, and you can check the flow at Whatcom County Public Works’ link to NOAA river data in the River and Flood Division. You’ll also need public river access; do not trespass on private land.
Wear life jackets! And it is not recommended to drink alcohol while on the river; wait until after the trip and have your designated driver take everyone to a local tavern to talk over the trip. This is for your safety and alcohol and river floating don’t mix. This is also not the time to listen to that old tale about not eating before jumping in the water. A multi-hour float trip requires lots of fuel. If you’ll be on the water for more than three hours, consider packing some snacks in a dry bag or cooler.
The most practical type of tube for the river is something with a mesh bottom (unlike those donut-like pool floats), which makes them more comfortable to lay in for hours, keeps you cool from the water underneath, and provides a catch-all for things you might have with you (like a water bottle or dry bag). Look for a tube with handles or other hardware for tying ropes onto, as well as tubes outfitted with a headrest for peak relaxation during lazy floats.
Riverbeds can be rocky, so sturdy footwear will help you avoid cutting up your feet when entering and exiting the water. Word of caution: Flip flops don’t work here because they won’t stay on your feet in the river. It should go without saying that you need to apply sunscreen before entering the river and keep reapplying throughout your tubing trip to avoid sunburn. To protect your face even further, though, you’re going to want a hat and sunglasses -- but consider leaving your $200 Ray-Bans and irreplaceable lucky hat at home.
The main thing about tubing and floating the Nooksack is to remember this is a wild river and you need to be prepared. Being prepared also means being ready to react quickly when unexpected things happen – ranging from someone falling to knowing the dangers of logs and log jams. This summer there are several points along the river where log jams are blocking the river and you have to get out and walk around them.
It is fun to float the Nooksack, and you can google “Tubing on the Nooksack” to get some good tips and read up on the river. We want you to have good, safe fun, and do not want to call out Search & Rescue!
"Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters." - Pandora Poikilo
This briefing line is not updated on weekends unless an incident occurs.