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The original item was published from 12/24/2020 1:32:50 PM to 12/31/2020 12:00:02 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: December 24, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Thursday, December 24, 2020 Emergency Management Daily Briefing for Whatcom County

Train Derailment response is ongoing. Intersection at Portal Way and Main St in Custer remains closed. Use alternate routes. Mostly sunny skies with increasing clouds and chance of showers and then rain. Highs around 40, lows will be in the lower 30s

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

A “Small Craft Advisory” is in effect until 6:00am Saturday for southeast winds 15-25 knots increasing to 20-30 knots this afternoon.  Environment Canada s showing southeast winds 15-20 knots on Friday.

Weather Around Whatcom County

Whatcom County Inland Weather

Skies will be mostly sunny around Whatcom County today but we will see increasing clouds with a slight chance of rain tonight and then a chance for rain through Saturday. Temperatures will still be in the low 40s during the day with low dropping to the upper 30s at night thanks to the cloud cover.  Tonight, however, lows will still drop down to around 32 degrees.  Higher elevations will be colder and places like NewHalem could see rain mixed with snow as the highs there will be about eight degrees colder than other areas.  Winds will be light today and around 10mph or a little more from the east/northeast in the northern part of the county.  We could see gust to near 20 mph tomorrow night.

Rivers and Streams

The Nooksack River has pretty much leveled off now.  Saturday and Sunday may see a little rise in river level, but if you’re not watching for it, you may not even notice the change.  

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County winds will be from the southeast for the next couple of days.  We will see velocities increase to 20-30 knots tonight, drop back to 10-20 knots tomorrow and then rise again to 20-30 knots tomorrow night.  Small Craft Advisories will likely be issued for those periods, so continue to monitor marine weather.






December 24, 2020
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December 26, 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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