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The original item was published from 1/6/2021 12:16:17 PM to 1/12/2021 12:00:05 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: January 6, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Wednesday, January 6, 2021 Emergency Management Daily Briefing for Whatcom County

Nicer weather today and tomorrow but more showers and rain starting tomorrow night. Highs will reach the mid-40s with lows around 39 degrees. Look for some wind tomorrow night into Friday but not as strong as yesterday. Landslide risk continues today.

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.  Portal Way has been reopened to thru traffic in Custer; however, there may be some work still being completed which requires flaggers to delay traffic from time to time.  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.

Advisories, Watches and Warnings

The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement regarding the increased threat of landslides in western Washington due to heavy rainfall earlier today. 

Weather Around Whatcom County

Whatcom County Inland Weather

Most of the precipitation has moved out of the area but a chance for some showers still remains for today and tonight.  Tomorrow will be partly to mostly sunny and then tomorrow night we’ll see more clouds and the chance for showers again with possible rain on Friday. Temperatures continue to reach the mid-40s or a little warmer with lows at 39 degrees.  Newhalem looks to be about seven or eight degrees colder.  Wind today will be light and variable but tomorrow we’ll see a little more wind from the east/northeast in the 15-20 mph range mostly in the foothills and Sumas.  

Rivers and Streams

The river level at Saxon Bridge is dropping at this time and just started dropping at Cedarville.  The Nooksack should peak in the next 4-5 hours or so at Ferndale and then slowly drop until the 12 or 13th when rain will push the river level up a little once again.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County wind will be from the southeast today and then from the north tonight.  Tomorrow we’ll see east wind.  Wind velocity through tomorrow will be less than 20 knots.  Tomorrow night we’ll see 20-30 knot and then 25-35 knot winds after midnight.  Small craft advisory and gale watch will likely be posted fort that period sometime tomorrow.






January 06, 2021
January 06, 2021
January 07, 2021
January 07, 2021
January 07, 2021
January 08, 2021
January 08, 2021

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 

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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