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The original item was published from 1/12/2021 9:36:41 AM to 1/20/2021 12:00:03 AM.

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Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: January 11, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Tuesday, January 12, 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.   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 “Small Craft Advisory” until midnight for southeast winds 20-30 knots.
The National Weather Service has issued a “Gale Warning” which goes into effect from midnight to 6:00am for southeast winds 25-35knots. Environment Canada has also issued a Gale Warning.
The National Weather Service has issued a “Small Craft Advisory” from 4:00pm this afternoon to 1:00pm tomorrow afternoon for winds 20-30 knots.  Environment Canada has issues a Gale Warning for the Strait of Georgia-South of Nanaimo.
A “Flood Watch” remains in effect for our area until tomorrow night at 10:00pm.
The National Weather Service has issued a “Special Weather Statement” for increased threat of landslides in Western Washington through Wednesday.
A “Winter Storm Warning” remains in effect for the Cascades until 4:00pm this afternoon above 3000’.  Additional accumulations of up to 10 inches of snow are possible.
The Northwest Avalanche Center has issued an avalanche warning for today. This warning is for backcountry terrain only and does not apply to highways or ski areas.

Weather Around Whatcom County

Whatcom County Inland Weather

Today’s weather can be summed up as wet and that will continue tonight and gradually taper off tomorrow. By the time we get to tomorrow night it will be partly cloudy and then on Thursday we will look for partly sunny skies. High temperatures today and tomorrow will be around 50 degrees or a little less.  Lows tonight will be around 40 degrees and four or five degrees colder tomorrow night. We’re going to have some wind over the next couple of days as well.  Gusts will get top around 20 mph today and 30 mph tonight; Sumas could see gusts to 33mph or so.  We’ll still see winds tomorrow with gusts to 30mph or a little more especially in the Blaine area.   

Rivers and Streams

The Nooksack River and its forks along with smaller streams will run pretty full into Thursday. We’ll see them start to come rise fairly rapidly today and come close to minor flooding levels into tomorrow.  At this time it doesn’t appear there will be any flooding but actual rain, snowmelt, and runoff could change that so remain vigilant and listen to weather stations for updates.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County south winds will increase to 20-30 knots early and then switch to the southwest after midnight.  Tomorrow southwest winds will shift to the west at 15-25 knots and then drop to 5-15 knots after midnight.






January 12, 2021
January 12, 2021
January 12, 2021
January 13, 2021
January 13, 2021
January 13, 2021
January 13, 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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