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The original item was published from 12/11/2020 9:14:00 AM to 12/17/2020 12:00:06 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: December 11, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Friday, December 11, 2020 Emergency Management Daily Briefing for Whatcom County

Rain and clouds today, clearing off later. Highs in the mid-40s. Tonight: mostly clear with temps around 30 degrees; watch for frost or icy spots on roads. Mostly sunny tomorrow, highs in the mid-40s. Rain starts up tomorrow night for the next 4-5 days.

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

There are no advisories, watches or warning in effect for Whatcom County at this time.

Weather Around Whatcom County

Whatcom County Inland Weather

The weather for today will begin with rain around the area and then as the day progresses, clouds will gradually break up so that we will have partly to mostly clear skies tonight.  Highs today will reach into the mid-40s followed by freezing temperatures tonight resulting from the mostly clear skies.  Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with highs in the mid-40s once again.  Tomorrow night will see rain moving back into the area and there will be some snow mixed in with the rain in the Maple Falls area and higher elevations. Temperatures will be around 30 degrees so frost and/or ice are real possibilities in places.  Wind will not be an issue although it will be from a northerly direction in the north and east parts of the county.  

Rivers and Streams

Beginning Tuesday, we will likely see the Nooksack River and small stream begin to go through several ups and downs as we have a number of weather systems that will bring rain to the area.  No flooding will occur from these systems, but locally heavy rain could send a small stream out of its banks do always be on guard for that and use an alternative route to get to your destination if you encounter water flowing over the road.  It’s never a good idea to drive through water flowing over a road. 

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County winds today will be from the southwest at 5-15 knots with waves two feet or less.  Tonight winds will switch to the northeast 5-15 knots and two foot waves or less.   Tomorrow north winds 5-15 knots should be expected switching to the east and increasing to 10-20 knots with 1-3 foot waves.





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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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