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The original item was published from 12/18/2020 9:12:16 AM to 12/24/2020 12:00:02 AM.

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Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: December 18, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Friday, December 18, 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 “Gale Warning” is in effect until 8:00pm tonight for southeast winds 25-35 knots.  Environment Canada has also issued a Gale Warning for the Strait of Georgia-South of Nanaimo for southeast winds 35-40 knots.
A “Wind Advisory” is in effect for Western Whatcom County from 10:00am this morning to 8:00pm this evening for south winds 30-40 mph with gusts to 50 mph.
A “Flood Watch” is in effect from Saturday morning through Sunday evening due to heavy rains and rising snow levels above 6500 feet.

Weather Around Whatcom County

Whatcom County Inland Weather

The weather system working its way through our area today will bring more rain and southerly wind switching a little more to the west in the Blaine area later.  Wind speed will range between 30-40 mph with some higher gusts.  Temperatures between the mid and upper 40s are expected.  Tonight, winds will taper off some but still remain around 20 mph and some higher gusts.  Rain will continue. Lows will be around 40 degrees.  Tomorrow, more wind and rain with the next passing weather system.  Winds will be from the south for the most part with gusts once again approaching 30 mph or a little stronger.  After midnight on Sunday morning winds should decrease to 15 mph or less. 

Rivers and Streams

With regards to the Nooksack River and small streams, there is no doubt they will rise and could bump up or just cross the minor flood levels at the Saxon Bridge and Ferndale. These are predictions; actual rainfall and snowmelt will determine if that happens.  If you live in areas prone to flooding, now is a good time to think about actions you should take if flooding were to occur.  And for everyone else, remember, do not drive through water flowing over roads; water can move vehicles as large as SUVs.   

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County today expect southeast winds 25-35 knots, tonight west winds 20-30 knots.  Then Saturday southeast winds 15-25 knots before increasing again to 25-35 knots.  “Small Craft Advisories” and “Gale Warnings” should be expected for these conditions.





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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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