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.
Last night western Washington once again saw just how unpredictable the weather can be. Winds up and down the area knocked down trees and power lines. Whatcom County has around 10K customers without power at the moment. Puget Sound Energy’s Emergency Operations Center is open and crew are being brought in from outside the area to assist with the recovery. PSE reported over 300K customers were without power at the peak of this incident.
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
A “Small Craft Advisory” is in effect until 2:00pm this afternoon for west winds 15-25 knots. Environment Canada is looking for westerly winds 20-30 knots dropping to 5-15 knots this afternoon.
A “Coastal Flood Advisory” in in effect until 10:00am this morning for some minor coastal flooding.
The National Weather Service has issued a “Special Weather Statement” for increased threat of landslides in Western Washington through Wednesday.
Whatcom County Inland Weather
A few showers remain around the area but they will continue to move out of the area and we will see periods of sun today. Highs will be in the upper 40s with lows around 40 degrees. Winds today will be from the west/southwest switching to the southeast tonight and then more to the east tomorrow. There will still be gusts near 25mph in the Blaine area but other areas should see wind to out around 15 mph or so. Tomorrow will continue to be partly cloudy with highs about the same as today. Tomorrow night there will be another chance for rain moving back in the area. Newhalem will see temperatures in the mid-30s for highs and around 30 degrees for lows.
The Nooksack River and its forks continue to rise this morning and will just touch against minor flood levels in places. The river will remain high until tomorrow morning when it is expected to begin dropping.
For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County west winds will begin easing this afternoon to 10-20 knots from the west. Southwest winds tonight will remain less than 20 knots. Tomorrow look for east winds increasing to 15-25 knots from the southeast tomorrow night. A “Small Craft Advisory” is likely to be issued.
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.
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:
January 12, 2021
January 13 & 14, 2021
0645 / 0722
January 15, 2020
January 16, 2021
January 29-February 01, 2021
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.