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The original item was published from 12/21/2020 9:31:00 AM to 12/21/2020 2:58:44 PM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: December 21, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Monday, December 20, 2020 Emergency Management Daily Briefing for Whatcom County

Winter Storm Warning above 4000 feet until 7:00pm today. Small Craft Advisory in effect now with Gale Warning staring at 6:00pm this evening. And there is an increased threat of landslide today due to moderate to heavy rainfall. Clearing skies overnight.

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 January 21, 2021. 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 “Winter Storm Warning” is in effect until 7:00pm this evening above 4000 feet.  Additional snow accumulations of 12-18 inches along with gusty winds up to 45 mph are possible.
A “Small Craft Advisory” is in effect until 6:00pm tonight at which time a “Gale Warning” will be in effect which will go from 6:00pm this evening until 4:00 am tomorrow morning.  Environment Canada has issued a Gale Warning for northwest winds 25-35 knots early this afternoon.
The National Weather Service has issued a “Special Weather Statement” that periods of moderate to heavy rainfall through Monday will lead to an increased threat of landslides in western Washington.

Weather Around Whatcom County

Whatcom County Inland Weather

Good news is on the way as far our weather is concerned.  The rain will end later today and gradually clear from west to east.  High temperatures will be in the low 40s with mid to lower 30s expected tonight.  There could be some northerly winds with gusts to around 25 mph.  For tomorrow and Wednesday, we’ll have partly cloudy skies with lighter winds.  Temperatures will be in the low 40s with evening lows dropping into the low 30s and possible some upper 20s which means there could be frost or even some ice on the roads where water is standing. 

Rivers and Streams

With regards to the Nooksack River and small streams, we’ve seen them get about as high as they will from these past few storms.  We’ll see one more spike over the next 24-36 hours as the runoff from this storm enters the drainage system and then the river will level off.  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 wind direction will switch from the northeast to the northwest and increase from 20-30 knots to 25-35 knots tonight.  Wind waves will increase from 3-5 feet to 4-6 feet.  Tomorrow will see winds drop from 15-25 in the morning to 5-15 knots in the afternoon.





December 21, 2020
December 21, 2020
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December 23, 2020

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 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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