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The original item was published from 10/29/2021 8:39:26 AM to 11/4/2021 12:00:02 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: October 29, 2021

[ARCHIVED] October 29, 2021 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Flood Watch continues until 11:00 am this morning. Increased landslide risk due to rain. Clouds moving out of the area later. High temps mid-50s most places; lows in the lower 30s to around 40 depending on location. West/northwest wind north county.

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 announced "Flood Watch " continues through 11:00am this morning for Whatcom County .  Parts of the Cascades received 3-5 inches of rain and while the heavy rain has stopped in the Northern Cascades the flood crests on the rivers will continue to move downstream today. Note.  Gauges Saxon Bridge and Cedarville currently show the Nooksack River level dropping.  The gauge at Ferndale shows the level still creeping up at this time and should reach the peak sometime later this morning.

From the National Weather Service:  "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 northwest 15-25 knots increasing to northwest 25-30 knots early this morning then diminishing to northwest 10-15 knots htis evening except northeast 15-20 knots south of Tsawwassen overnight and Saturday.

WSDOT has closed SR-20 at MP 134 due to multiple rocks reported on the roadway.  Crews will out this morning evaluate the situation for reopening.  See WSDOT website for updated information.  Additionally, WSDOT has announced they will closing SR-20 on Nov 15th for the season.  The closure locations are also available on the WSDOT website.

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

Clouds will gradually move out of the area today allowing some sun to shine through.  it will  be a cooler day with highs in them id-50s but lows dropping down to the upper 30s and low 40s.  In Maple Falls, the low tonight will be around 33 degrees so there is a chance of frost tomorrow morning.  In Newhalem, the high will only reach 40 and  lows will be in the mid-20s (Brrrr!).  Expect some west/northwest/northeast winds in the northern part of the county with Point Roberts seeing gusts over the next couple of days in a mid-20mph range.  Along the foothills there will be a southerly breeze but not very strong. Tomorrow we can expect more sun with highs similar to todays highs.  Lows will be within a few degrees of tonight's low.  The next chance of rain appears to arrive Monday evening.

Rivers and Streams

The bow wave is slowly working its way downstream and is passing the Ferndale gauge at this time.  Places like Saxon Bridge and Cedarville crested last night or early this morning and the river level is dropping fairly rapidly.  By this afternoon, the river should be dropping between Ferndale and the bay as well.  There may be some road closures between I-5 and the Silver Reef Casino, so just watch for those.  Beyond today, rivers and streams look to be in pretty good shape over the next five days.  

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

A front will slide south of the area this morning.  High pressure will then build over the waters with low level offshore flow expected over the weekend.  Winds.  Today:  NW wind 20-30 knots.  Wind waves 3-5'.  Tonight:  N wind 15-25 knots becoming NE 10-20 knots after midnight.  Tomorrow:  N wind 15-25 knots easing to 10-20 knots in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2-4'.  Tomorrow Night:  N wind 10-20 knots becoming NE 15-25 knots after midnight.  Wind waves 2-4'.  Sunday:  NE wind 15-25 knots easing to 5-15 knots in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2-4' subsiding to 2' or less in the afternoon.  Sunday Night:  NE wind 15-25 knots becoming # to 10 knots after midnight.  Wind waves 2-4' subsiding to 1' or less after midnight.   Note.  While the current "Small Craft Advisory" runs through this afternoon, there are several periods over the next couple of days where the winds fall in the 15-25 mph range.  Experience has shown that the National Weather Service is likely to issue Small Craft Advisories for those periods in the future.  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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