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 until at least November 21, 2020. This includes both vehicular and 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.
Advisories, Watches and Warnings:
Whatcom County Coastal Weather
The National Weather Service currently has a Small Craft Advisory in effect to 0600 Tuesday when a Gale Watch goes into effect. With current forecast models, expect the Gale Watch to be upgraded to a Gale Warning. This morning’s marine forecast is for Southeast winds 30-40 knots with 5 to 7 foot wind waves into Tuesday afternoon. The coastal areas of Whatcom County that should have the strongest winds include Lummi Island, the Lummi Peninsula, Sandy Point, Cherry Point, and Birch Bay.
Environment Canada has already issued Gale Warnings for the Strait of Georgia South of Nanaimo (Point Roberts, Blaine, Birch Bay) for tonight and Thursday, expect wind east 15 knots increasing to east 15 to 25 near noon and to southeast 35 to 45 overnight.
Tidal / King Tide Impact Coastal communities in Whatcom County may see tidal effects from the coastal wind events tomorrow. The high tides, including storm surge are projected to be 10.97’ at 0800. The National Weather Service currently has high tides hovering around high astronomical tide and current forecast show highest winds occurring near or just after that. This combination of wind and tides could result in minor coastal flooding.
Whatcom County Inland Weather
The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for Whatcom County from 1000 to 1800 on Tuesday. Wind speeds are forecast to be 30-40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.
Environment Canada has issued a Wind Warning for both the Fraser Valley (Sumas, Lynden and Everson) and Metro Vancouver (Blaine and Point Roberts) - Strong southeast winds up to 70 km/h are possible on Tuesday as a strong Pacific low approaches the south coast. The highest winds are expected to be ahead of the associated cold front that will cross the inner south coast Tuesday morning to midday. Winds will ease Tuesday afternoon as the low and cold front move inland and weakens.
Rivers and Streams
The Nooksack River along with small streams will increase in flow and rise with the rain that will fall over the next several days. There should be no flooding, but conditions can change so if your route of travel takes you over or near streams, always be cautious.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
For the Strait and Coastal Waters off Whatcom County, winds will drop a little tonight but a Small Craft Advisory will continue. Environment Canada at the moment continues with a small craft advisory but winds are expected to drop off later as well. One other thing to keep in mind is that we are expecting King Tides from November 16th through the 20th. We will see some days during this period with tides above the 10.0’ level.
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.