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The original item was published from 10/25/2021 10:07:16 AM to 10/30/2021 12:00:02 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: October 25, 2021

[ARCHIVED] October 25, 2021 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Gale Warning and High Wind Warning continue today. Temperatures will be in the mid-50s with lows tonight in the low to mid-40s. Chance of rain today, tonight, and again tomorrow. Winds from a south/souteast direction with gusts 35-45mph or higher. Be safe

Active Incidents

On August 18th, Governor Inslee ordered a statewide mask mandate.  Please see the Governor's website at the following URL:

COVID-19 - The “Proclamation of Emergency” signed by the Whatcom County Executive concerning COVID-19 remains in effect. 

UPDATE:  The U.S. side of the Canadian border will open to vaccinated Canadians starting in early November (, however until the official date is announced, the U.S. border remains closed to nonessential traffic.  Canada allows fully vaccinated Americans to visit Canada however, there are several additional requirements you need to be aware of.  See Canada Border Services Agency for additional requirements:

Advisories, Watches and Warning

A  "Gale Warning" remains in effect through tomorrow morning at 5:00am for strong southwest winds 30-40 knots for Northern Inland Waters including San Juan Islands.  Strong winds will cause hazardous seas which could capsize or damage vessels and reduce visibility.

A "High Wind Warning"  remains in effect until midnight tonight for western Whatcom County.  Southeast winds 30-40 mph with gusts up to 55 mph are expected.  Gusts this high can cause branches, and some trees to blow down.  Power lines could also be downed as a result.  High profile vehicles (e.g. semi-truck/trailers and box trucks, etc.) could find travel difficult.

A "Coastal Flood Advisory" is in effect from 9:--am this morning to 1:00 pm this afternoon for Western Whatcom County.  High tide this morning at Cherry Point is at 10:24 am reaching a level of 8.91'.  The tide, coupled with wind driven surge/waves could cause some localized flooding of lots, parks, and roads with only localized road closures possible.

Environment Canada's "Gale Warning" remains in effect.  Wind southeast 30-40 knots diminishing to southerly 20-30 knots early this evening and to southerly 15-20 knots near midnight.  Wind increasing to southeast 20-30 knots Tuesday morning then veering to southwest 15-25 knots Tuesday afternoon.   

See the Washington State Department of Transportation website for intermittent lane closures on i-5 and SR-11 along Interstate 5 at milepost 250 near Old Fairhaven Parkway and along State Route 11 just west of I-5.  This will go from October 20 through November 30.

Inland Weather

So far, Whatcom County has dodged the higher winds but it will be later today before the low pressure system causing the winds breaks down. So we will see the "High Wind Warning" continue throughout the day. Power outages in Whatcom County are around 150 customers and it is very isolated.  The outlook for the week's weather can be summed up as wet.  There is a very good chance of rain each day this week.  Lower areas of the county will see temperatures in the mid 50s throughout the week with lows in the evening in the mid-40s.  Newhalem will see low to mid-40s for highs with lows in the upper 30s.  Winds will continue into tomorrow from a southerly direction in most locations with some gusts into the 20 and 30s; Sumas will see northeasterly winds today and tomorrow. As we get to the end of the work week, we're going to see the cumulative effects of the rain as more water drains into the streams and Nooksack River branches. While there is no flooding anticipated, the levels in some locations are going to get close to minor flood levels.  So, it is important you monitor weather sources (tv, radio, internet, etc.) for updates on how these next weather systems play out.  It's also a good time to think through alternate ways of getting to work if your primary route was closed for a day or two.  Another potential impact on the saturated ground is landslides.  The risk is going to go up as the week progresses.

NOTE.  If you encounter downed wires, treat them as if they are live.  Do not attempt to cross them; turn around and find an alternative route.  For power outages, do not call 911; notify PSE. 

Rivers and Streams

Several weather systems will continue to impact our area this week.  Expect more water to drain into the rivers and streams and push the levels higher, especially as we get to the weekend.  Predicted levels at this time show the Nooksack remaining below minor flood level; however, a weather system that churns out more precipitation than anticipated could push the level higher.  And, there are some low spots in the county that tend to be affected more than others even when the flood level is not reached (e.g. Slater Road).  If you're on or around the river be prepared for faster moving water and deeper water levels. A lot of leaves were blown off trees this past weekend so they may plug drains or culverts and cause water to pool.  Iowa Street, near the I-5 bridge is one place where this occurs at least once a year.  Water depths of six inches or more will reach the bottom of a car so it is advised you find an alternative route.  Driving into water at substantial speeds can result in loss of vehicle control or even stalling your vehicle.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

A strong surface low west of the coastal waters will continue to weaken today and move towards Vancouver Island.  The low will move inland over Northern Vancouver Island late in the afternoon.  font associated with the low moving through the waters this afternoon.,  A weaker system will arrive Tuesday with another system Thursday.  Winds.  Today:  SE wind 30-40 knots.  Wind waves 5-7'.  Tonight:  SE wind 30-40 knots becoming S 20-30 knots after midnight.  Wind waves 5-7' subsiding to 3-5' after midnight.  Rain in the evening then a chance of rain after midnight.  Tomorrow:  S wind 15-25 knots becoming SE 20-30 knots in the afternoon.  Wind waves 3-5'.  A chance of rain in the morning then rain in the afternoon.  Tomorrow Night:  SW wind 15-25 knots.  Wind waves 2-4'.  Winds today continue to be in the Gale Warning window.  Even after these winds subside, they will remain in Small Craft Advisory level winds.  So, expect the NWS to issue a "Small Craft Advisory" to follow the Gale Warning sometime in the near future.  Monitor Marine weather to ensure you get the latest updates.

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Emergency Management Tips and Reminders

Fall is a time for mushroom picking, hunting, fishing, hiking and exploring. And to be prepared.....

While this is a great time of year, everyone needs to be prepared in the event they find that their planned weekend in the woods does not go the way they intended, and here are a few tips:

Back Country Medical Kit

You definitely need to carry a first aid kit, and for most people and most injuries the following is a good place to start when you are going out in the back country even for a day.  There are lots of good sources on the Internet to find kits but the following list is primarily centered around patching cuts and cleaning wounds in an emergency:

  • Tape and Glue – Duct tape and super glue. Super glue can be used in place of stitches. Athletic tape is great but duct tape can wrap a wound or fix gear so not a bad idea to keep a small roll for multipurpose use.
  • Gauze and Bandages – A few small squares of gauze and several adhesive bandage squares are essential. You can use the large squares and cut them into strips if needed. Primarily used for blisters. You could stuff the gauze in a deep wound to stop bleeding if needed.
  • Disinfectant – Keep a small amount of antiseptic in case of a serious wound and a small tube of triple antibiotic ointment. Rinse wounds with water first then clean everything before patching things up.
  • QuickClot – In a worst case scenario, rapid blood loss can crush your odds of surviving. Hunters and anglers are handling knives and firearms in remote places where accidents can happen. A blood clotting agent will stop the rapid blood loss and can save your life. It’s also easy to find over the counter.
  • Pills – Aspirin for swelling and potential heart problems is a good idea, and if you are out overnight you may want to make sure you have any extra medications you may take just in case.

Back Country Preparedness Kit

As with your first aid kit, there are lots of good sources on the Internet to find kits and the following suggestions are a good place to start, especially if you are going into the foothills and mountains in our area:

  • Water Filtration System - Most of us understand the importance of hydration, but depending on how long you plan to be in the back country it might not be feasible to pack enough water. A small filtration system will allow you to acquire clean drinking water without having to lug around a few gallons.
  • Cooking Pot - This can be used for more purposes than you think. You’ll definitely need it for cooking, but you’ll also need a container to put your freshly filtered water in. And when it starts to get cold you can also heat your water to provide extra warmth. 
  • Leatherman Signal - With implements such as a ferro rod for starting fires, a saw for cutting down branches, and a safety whistle that can be heard from far away, this tool will prove it’s worth when you’re in a rough spot. Keep one in your pocket or clip one on to your backpack.
  • Compact Stove (with fuel) - The modern day camp stove is so compact and easy to use that there is almost no excuse to not have one. Cooking meals, providing heat, and even purifying water (if your filtration system fails). Make sure one of these lives in your bag and the fuel is always full.
  • Trail Mix - Healthy, energy-rich, and no cooking necessary. A small bag of trail mix is a perfect snack for being in the outdoors. Make sure it has a good mix of nuts, dried fruits, bits of dark chocolate and other items to make it tasty.
  • Compass - This may seem a bit old fashioned, but a quality compass is still an incredibly useful tool. When cell service isn’t an option, how will you find your way around? A small compass and an understanding of your surroundings will ensure that you can find your way when all else fails.
  • Flashlight - Even if you don’t plan to be out in the back country past dark, pack a flashlight. Things happen and plans change. If you’re in an unfamiliar part of the woods with no lights, things can go bad fast. Don’t like to carry one? Try a headlamp to keep your hands free.
  • Emergency Blanket - Also known as space-blankets (originally designed by NASA), this compact/light weight item should live in everybody’s bag. The thin mylar sheet works to trap in heat or reflect it making it extremely versatile. It can also double as a make-shift shelter to keep you protected from the elements. 

Both the medical and preparedness items listed here are considered to be the minimum a person should take with them.  They are not intended to be the only things or to suggest that you do not need anything else.  You can find good information locally at:

  • Yeagers, 3101 Northwest Ave, Bellingham, WA  98225, 360.733.1080
  • REI, 400 36th St, Bellingham, WA  98225, 360.647.8955
  • American Alpine Institute, 1515 12th St, Bellingham, WA  98225, 360.671.1505


Information concerning face coverings and other protective actions can be found on the Whatcom County Health Department Website.

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.

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