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The original item was published from 1/7/2021 10:39:01 AM to 1/12/2021 12:00:05 AM.

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Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: January 7, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Thursday, January 7, 2021 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.  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 “Gale Watch” from 4:00am to 10:00am tomorrow January 8th for south winds 25-35knots.

The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement for increased threat of landslides in western Washington due to recent heavy rainfall.

Weather Around Whatcom County

Whatcom County Inland Weather

Today we will enjoy partly cloudy skies across the county with temperatures in the mid to upper 40s for highs.  Winds will be from the east around 10mph.  Tonight, lows will drop to around 40 degrees with increasing clouds developing. Showers and then rain are predicted for tomorrow with some wind from the south/southeast gusts could top out at 25 mph or even a little higher. High temperatures will be in the low to mid-40s with lows tomorrow night dropping to the mid to upper 30s.  It will be cloudy tomorrow night and partly sunny on Sat.  Rain moves in Saturday night and Sunday. Higher elevations, including Newhalem will be about 10 degrees colder so there could be a rain/snow mix at times. 

Rivers and Streams

The Nooksack River level may drop a little more before leveling off.  We won’t see any additional rise until next week Tuesday as a weather system enters the area.  The river will come up a little bit but no flooding will occur.   

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County wind from the east today around 15 knots increasing to 15-25 knots and the then from the southeast 20-30 knots. By tomorrow we could see 25-35 knot south winds and 4-6 foot wind waves. Winds will drop back tomorrow night to 15-25 knots and then 5-15 knots after midnight. Watch for a “Small Craft Advisory” to be issued for the 15-25 knot winds prior to the gale watch timeframe.






January 07, 2021
January 07, 2021
January 08, 2021
January 08, 2021
January 08, 2021
January 08, 2021
January 09, 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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