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The original item was published from 10/28/2021 11:37:38 AM to 11/3/2021 12:00:02 AM.

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Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: October 28, 2021

[ARCHIVED] October 28, 2021 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

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

The National Weather Service has issued a "Flood Watch " from noon today through late tonight for Whatcom County.  ":Moderate to heavy rain through Friday morning will drive many rivers in the north and central Cascades and Olympic Peninsula to near flood stage, with a few possibly exceeding minor or moderate flood state as early as this afternoon."  

The National Weather Service has also stated, "heavy rainfall rates will increase the threat for landslides across the region through Friday morning."

Environment Canada has issued a "Strong Wind Warning for the Strait of Georgia-South of Nanaimo.  Wind east at 10-20 knots diminishing to light near noon then increasing to northwest 10-15 knots this afternoon.  Wind increasing to northwest 15-25 knots early this evening and to northwest 30 knots later overnight.  Wind diminishing to northwest 10-20 knots Friday evening.  

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

Moderate to heavy rain will continue in the foothills and higher elevations today with the higher accumulations predicted in the Newhalem area where one to two inches of rain could fall today and again tonight.  Most of that rain will drain into the Skagit River.  However, amounts close to that are predicted for areas such as the Mount Baker Ski Resort area which will drain into the Nooksack River basin and drive up river levels substantially higher than what they are at the moment.  Temperatures will be in the mid-50s (most areas) for highs with lows n the low 40s.  The exceptions are the higher elevations where there could be some upper 30s.  North/northwest winds will also occur along the coast and Point Roberts.  Point Roberts will likely see gusts near 25 mph today and near 45 mph tomorrow night; the rest of the coastal areas could see a gust or two tonight near 30 mph.  Once the rain clears out (looks like early tomorrow morning) we may see some sun in parts of the county with temperatures still in the mid-50s.  Tomorrow night, under clear skies, there's likely to be lows in the upper 30s.  On Saturday and Sunday we should see mostly clear skies.  The next chance for rain arrives Monday.

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

With the bout of rain overnight, small streams are already rising and there has been some water backing up on the roads in lower areas due to drains being plugged with leaves.  As more water drains into the Nooksack River system, it to will start to rise rapidly.  We remain in a cone of uncertainty as to how high the river will actually get. The Northwest River Forecast Center has the Nooksack just crossing over the minor flooding threshold later today and into early tomorrow.  The point is, if you're traveling on roads near the river that are in lower areas, it is possible you may not be able to use the same road for a round trip; know what alternate road you would have to use to travel to reach your destination.  If you see a "Road Closed" or "Detour" sign with water over the road, turn around. Check the Whatcom County Public Works website for road closure or restriction information.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

A front will move through the area today for increasing winds.  High pressure will then build over the waters with low level offshore flow expected over the weekend.   Winds.  Today:  NE wind 5-15 knots becoming 10-20 knots in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1-3'.  Rain.  Tonight:  NW wind 10-20 knots rising to 15-25 knots after midnight.  Wind waves 2-4'.  Rain in the evening then a chance of rain after midnight.  Tomorrow:  NW wind 20-30 knots easing to 15-25 knots in the afternoon.  Wind waves 3-5'.  A slight chance of rain in the morning.  Tomorrow Night:  NW wind 15-25 knots becoming NE 10-20 knots after midnight.  Note.  At this time there is no "Small Craft Advisory" issued for winds 15-25 knots; however, experience has shown that the National Weather Service is likely to issue one later today.  Tune to marine weather to ensure you get the latest weather updates including advisories, watches, or warnings.

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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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