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The original item was published from 12/23/2020 10:57:06 AM to 12/30/2020 12:00:06 AM.

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Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: December 23, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Wednesday, December 23, 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

Train Derailment Update.  the intersection at Portal Way and Main St. in Custer, WA remains closed at this time.  It is unknown when the roads will be reopened; please use alternate routes. Updates to this information will be made known as they are made available.  Incident Number 20-4465 has been assigned to this event.

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.

First of all, there are a number of power outages around the county with the greatest number of people affected in the Sudden Valley area.  The cause is under investigation and there is no restoration time posted at this time.

Advisories, Watches and Warnings

There are no advisories, watches or warnings at this time.

Weather Around Whatcom County

Whatcom County Inland Weather

There is plenty of fog around the area but that will gradually burn off as the day progresses. Temperatures will rise to around 40 degrees or so before dropping down to around 30 degrees or slightly lower tonight.  Winds will be light from the east/northeast for the next couple of days. Tomorrow will be about the same but as we move into the evening more clouds will develop and the chance of rain will increase.  Look for fog early in the morning and again, later in the day.   Lows tomorrow night will be slightly warmer thanks to the clouds but temperatures will still be around the freezing mark.

Rivers and Streams

The Nooksack River level will continue to drop throughout the day and level off sometime tomorrow (theSouth Fork of the Nooksack has already leveled off).  The next rain event will lead to a small rise in the river level but will not lead to any flooding concerns.  

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County look efor east wind today to 10 knots.  Tonight will also see light wind. Tomorrow east wind will increase to 5-15 knot in the morning to 10-20 knots in the afternoon.  Winds tomorrow night could be 15-25 knots and become a little stronger so look for a “Small Craft Advisory” to be issued for tomorrow night. Wind waves for the lighter winds will be around one foot or so.  The higher winds will cause two to four foot wind 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 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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