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.
The U.S. and Canada have extended an order closing their shared border to nonessential traffic. The move delays the border’s reopening by another 30 days, until at least November 21, 2020. 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. Highlights of this phase include: social distancing, wearing a mask, and limiting the size of groups 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:
A Small Craft Advisory is in effect until 4:00 am tomorrow for south winds 20-30 knots. Wind waves will be three to five feet in height.
Whatcom County Weather
Rain has moved into the area and we can expect it to be around until Thursday evening. It will not always be a steady rain, but we are going to be wet. Temperatures will be in the upper-50s to near 60 for most areas of the county with lows in the mid to upper 40s. You can also expect wind along the coast from the south/southeast anywhere from 15 to 20 mph with gusts 35-40 mph. In the northeast part of the county the winds will be lighter and from a northerly direction today. Friday appears to be at least partly sunny.
Rivers and Streams
We can expect the Nooksack River along with small streams to increase flow over the next several days. The first round of precipitation occurring now will cause the rive to rise but then drop back, while the next bout of rain on Wednesday will push the river close to a full bank. The ground may be able to absorb some of the rain but saturation will lead to greater runoff and the possibility of streams exceeding their banks. As always, do not attempt to drive through water over the road. Water currents could be strong; also water can render the roadway unstable. Have an alternate route available.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
The “Small Craft Advisory is in effect until 4:00 am tomorrow morning for the coastal waters off Whatcom County. South winds 20-30 knots will cause three to five foot wind waves. Environment Canada has issued a “Strong Wind Warning” for the Strait of Georgia South of Nanaimo for southeast winds 15-25 knots.
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.
If you haven't put your Winter Emergency kit in your car, now is the time to do so. Having an extra blanket, flashlight, small shovel, food and water are just a few of the items you should consider placing in your kit. The Washington State Department of Transportation has a list of items that you should consider having in your emergency kit.
Check your windshield wipers now and replace them if they are frayed, leave streaks, or not able to remove water from your windshield. Your safety and the safety of others depends on your ability to clearly see the road and other traffic on the road.
Make sure you turn your lights on during time of reduced visibility; this includes dusk, twilight, fog, and rain. The more you make yourself visible, the less chance of an accident.
Do not attempt to drive through water flowing over the road or even water standing on the road. Flowing water can move vehicles in as little as six inches of water and even SUVs cannot escape the force of flowing water. Likewise, driving through standing water while guessing where the road is could result in veering off the road. By going a different route, you may lose ten or fifteen minutes, but you will arrive safe.
Frost on roads and bridges can occur anytime. Colder temperatures at higher elevations can cause frost or black ice to form on roads and bridges. Wind can create wind chills that drop temperatures below freezing.
Scrape the ice and snow from all the windows on your vehicle. And if you have snow on the hood, remove that to. Snow blowing across a warm windshield will cause condensation and restrict your visibility.
This briefing line is not updated on weekends unless an incident occurs.