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The original item was published from 11/8/2021 10:40:49 AM to 11/13/2021 12:00:02 AM.

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Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: November 8, 2021

[ARCHIVED] November 08, 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. 


The United States has announced that fully vaccinated, non-citizen travelers with appropriate documentation will be permitted to enter the United States for non-essential travel via land Ports Of Entry and ferry terminals starting on November 8, 2021 and has released this fact sheet to assist those entering the United States.

Canada allows fully vaccinated Americans to visit Canada with these Canadian requirements:

Advisories, Watches and Warning

A  "Small Craft Warning" is in effect until 10:00pm this evening for southeast winds 20-30 knots for the east entrance US waters Strait of Juan De Fuca -Northern Inland Waters including the San Juan Islands, and Admiralty Inlet. 

A  "Gale Warning" is in effect until 10:00pm this evening until 4:00pm tomorrow afternoon for south winds 25-35 knots for the east entrance US waters Strait of Juan De Fuca -Northern Inland Waters including the San Juan Islands, and Admiralty Inlet.

Environment Canada has issued a "Gale Warning" for the Strait of Georgia-South of Nanaimo.  Wind southerly 15-25 knots increasing to southeast 25-35 knots late overnight then veering to southwest 25-35 knots Tuesday morning.  Wind diminishing to southwesterly 15-25 knots near noon Tuesday.

A "Wind Advisory" is in effect from 10;00pm this evening to noon Tuesday four south winds 25-35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph expected.  Of particular concern during this period would be items that are light and can be easily blown about.  Trees have lost a lot, if not all, of their leaves so the risk of a lot of tree branches breaking is reduced considerably but it is not out of the question for some branches to still break and knock down a power line here and there.  

We also have a "Winter Storm Watch" in effect from this evening through Tuesday evening above 3500'.  Total snow accumulations of 8-16 inches is possible.  Winds could gust as high as 45 mph. What does this mean? Travel could be difficult.  Additionally, snow could fall below 3500' just not in the larger amounts.  Driving could still be hazardous as wind could cause momentary whiteouts.  There could be some drifting in places as well.  Put your winter safety kit in your vehicle and make sure you let someone know your travel plans including departure and arrival times.

Beginning November 6th and continuing through November 11th, we will see our first period of King Tides which will be around the ten foot level.  Additional periods will occur in December and January.  Strong westerly winds can sometimes cause spray or even a "pushing" effect to carry water onto roadways that are at sea level.  Nothing is forecast at this time other than we are entering the Kind Tide season. 

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

Some partly sunny skies will kick off the work week.  This will be short-lived as we have several weather systems that will be working their way through our area over the next week.  And, there are still a few shows around the area.  Highs for today will still find the 50 degree mark in most areas with the exception of Newhalem where mid-40s will be the high.  Depending on where you are in the county will determine the wind direction. Bellingham - southerly direction while Sumas and Maple Falls - east/northeast.  The velocity will be in the 5-15mph range.  Tonight winds will swing to the south/southeast and increase.  The wind advisory goes in effect at 10:00pm and the winter storm watch also takes effect this evening.  More clouds will develop and rain will once again fall overnight and tomorrow with elevations at 3500' and higher getting some pretty good amounts of snow.  Travel could be difficult.  Temperatures will be anywhere from 5-10 degrees cooler. The high tomorrow in Newhalem will be 36 degrees.  Rain continues tomorrow night.

Rivers and Streams

River and stream levels have come down considerably from last week's rains, and they should remain about where they're at until we get to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday when we will likely see them rise once again.  They will remain below flood level, but they will run higher and fast for about a three day period due to the rains falling this week and probably a little bit of the snow melting due to the rain.  All in all, just continue to be vigilant and monitor weather programs for new developments.  And remember, water flowing over the road or even standing on the road should cause you to turn around and find an alternate route to your destination.  

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

A strong surface trough and associated front will move into the offshore waters tonight and then move inland on Tuesday.  this will produce fale force winds over the coastal waters and portions of the inland waters.  A weak surface ridge will bring lighter winds briefly on Wednesday before another font arrives by Thursday.  Winds.  Today:  SE wind 15-25 knots rising to 20-30 knots in the afternoon.  Wind eaves 3-5'.  A slight chance of rain in the morning. Tonight:  E wind 15-25 knots becoming SE 20-30 knots after midnight.  Wind waves 3-5'.  Rain likely after midnight  wind 5-15 knots becoming SE 10-20 knots after midnight.  Wind waves 1-3'. A slight chance of thunderstorms in the evening then a slight chance of rain after midnight.  Tomorrow:  S wind 25-35 knots becoming SW 20-30 knots in the afternoon.  Wind waves 4-6'.  Rain.  Tomorrow Night:  S wind 15-25 knots.  Wind waves 2-4'.   wind 15-25 knots.  Wind waves 2-4'.  King Tides will continue today and tomorrow with levels just over the 10.00' mark.

November 08, 20210101
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Emergency Management Tips and Reminders

As we move deeper into the month of November, we're seeing more and more weather systems impacting our area with rain in the lowlands and snow in the upper elevations with accumulations that are moderate.  Snow and cold weather introduce a whole new realm of driving considerations versus summer months.  In order to help make the preparations a little easier, the following are some tips from the National Safety Council (

Prepare Your Car for Winter

In addition to annual maintenance, here are some tips to winterize your car:

  • Test your battery; battery power drops as the temperature drops
  • Make sure the cooling system is in good working order
  • Have winter tires with a deeper, more flexible tread put on your car
  • If using all-season tires, check the tread on your tires and replace if less than 2/32 of an inch
  • Check the tire pressure; tire pressure drops as the temperature drops
  • Check your wiper blades and replace if needed
  • Add wiper fluid rated for -30 degrees
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze

Before You Start Out

  • Clean your car’s external camera lenses and side view mirrors so you’ll be able to see what’s around you
  • Remove dirt, ice and snow from sensors to allow the assistive-driving features like automatic emergency braking to work
  • In frigid weather, you may want to warm up the car before you drive it
  • To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never leave a vehicle running in your garage – even with the garage door up
  • If the forecast looks iffy, wait out the storm if possible; if you must travel, share your travel plans and route with someone before you leave
  • Remember to keep your car's emergency preparedness kit full stocked.

How to Avoid A Crash

  • Avoid using cruise control in wintry conditions
  • Steer in the direction of a skid, so when your wheels regain traction, you don’t have to overcorrect to stay in your lane
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly
  • Increase following distance to 8 to 10 seconds
  • If possible, don't stop when going uphill

Know Your Car's Capabilities

My car does what?  is a national campaign to help educate drivers about the safety features built into vehicles. Search for your car and find out what safety features are already built in.

Traction control is now standard on most new vehicles. This function helps your vehicle gain traction on snowy, icy or wet surfaces, particularly when accelerating from a stopped or slowed position, or when trying to make it up a slippery hill.

Anti-lock braking system (ABS) helps you steer in emergencies by restoring traction to your tires and is standard on most new vehicles as well. ABS may vibrate or pulse when engaged. This is normal. Continue to press and hold pressure to the brake pedal.

Remember, you are your car's best safety feature. Take precautions to ensure you arrive safely at your destination. If you become stranded in an unfamiliar area, do not leave your car. Light flares in front and behind the car and make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow, mud or objects.

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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