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The original item was published from 12/10/2020 9:45:44 AM to 12/13/2020 12:00:03 AM.

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Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: December 10, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Thursday, December 10, 2020 Emergency Management Daily Briefing for Whatcom County

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.

Active Incidents

The U.S. and Canada have extended an order closing their shared border to nonessential traffic until at least December 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

A “Small Craft Advisory will go into effect at 2:00pm this afternoon and remain in effect until tomorrow morning at 4:00am for southeast winds 15-25 knots.  Environment Canada is also predicting these winds except it will not occur until late this evening.

Weather Around Whatcom County

Whatcom County Inland Weather

Expect a cloudy day today with highs in the mid-40s.  Winds, if any will be lighter from the southeast.  There will be a chance for rain this evening with lows in the mid-30s.  Tomorrow will be partly to mostly cloudy with temperatures again in the mid-40s.  Tomorrow night temperatures will be cooler as we’ll see partly cloudy skies.  Low could be in the upper 20s in some of the foothill areas with low to mid-30s in other places.  Saturday will see increasing clouds and showers will develop followed by a steady rain for Sunday and Sunday night.

Rivers and Streams

A series of weather systems will pass through the area over the next week and each one will add a little to the river flow and river level.  There is no concern regarding flooding; however. if you are planning any activities on or near the river or smaller streams, be aware of how these passing weather systems could affect your plans. Conditions can change rapidly and without warning.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County winds today will be from the east at 5-15 knots causing waves two feet or less.  Tonight, south winds 15-25 knots will create two to four foot wind waves.  Then tomorrow, wind will drop to 10-20 knots and wind waves will range from one to three feet.  The next chance for a wind advisory looks to be Saturday evening.





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Emergency Management Tips and Reminders


Everyone in Washington State 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.

King Tides

A King Tide is a non-scientific term people often use to describe exceptionally high tides. Tides are long-period waves that roll around the planet as the ocean is "pulled" back and forth by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun as these bodies interact with the Earth in their monthly and yearly orbits. Higher than normal tides typically occur during a new or full moon and when the Moon is at its perigee, or during specific seasons around the country.

In Whatcom County we pay particular attention to King Tides that occur in the late fall / early winter as many times these coincide with, and can be aggravated by, our wind storms.  This has resulted in significant impacts in our coastal communities, such as occurred in Birch Bay and Blaine in December of 2018 when over 5 million dollars in damage was caused by a King Tide and wind storm.  We define a King Tide as a tide of at least 10.1 at Cherry Point (Whatcom Counties official tide station).  Over the next couple months, we will have King Tides on the following days:

Height of Tide
Time of King Tide 

December 14, 2020

10.1 Feet


December 15, 2020

10.6 Feet


December 16, 2020

10.8 Feet


December 17, 2020

10.7 Feet


December 18, 2020

10.6 Feet


December 19, 2020

10.3 Feet


December 30, 2020

10.1 Feet


December 31, 2020

10.2 Feet


January 01, 2021

10.3 Feet


January 02, 2021

10.3 Feet


January 03, 2021

10.2 Feet


January 04 & 05, 2021

10.1 Feet

0951 / 1021

January 12, 2021

10.4 Feet


January 13 & 14, 2021

10.6 Feet

0645 / 0722

January 15, 2020

10.5 Feet


January 16, 2021

10.2 Feet


January 29-February 01, 2021

10.1 Feet

0706 / 0733 / 0800 / 0827

For those who are tide watchers, these are pretty impressive tides but as happened in the 2018 storm, the tides were pushed nearly two feet higher from the storm pressure (called storm surge) and then the west wind added another 3-4 feet of waves.

This briefing line is not updated on weekends unless an incident occurs.

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