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The original item was published from 11/9/2021 9:35:02 AM to 11/16/2021 12:00:02 AM.

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Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: November 9, 2021

[ARCHIVED] November 09, 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  "Gale Warning" is in effect until 6:00pm this evening for south winds 30-40 knots for the Northern Inland Waters including the San Juan Islands.

A "High Wind Warning" is in effect until 4:00pm this afternoon for south winds 30-40 mph with gusts up to 55 mph for western Whatcom County.

A "Coastal Flood Advisory" remains in effect from 8:00am this morning to noon today for some minor coastal flooding possible in western Whatcom County.  Flooding of lots, parks, and roads with only isolate road closures are expected.

A "Winter Storm Warning" remains in effect until 10:00pm this evening above 3500'.  Accumulations of 8-16 inches are expected with wind gusts as high as 45 mph.  Travel will be difficult.  Note.  Beware of white outs during this period caused by blowing and drifting snow.

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.

 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

We have a full complement of weather in store for us today.  Heavy snow above 3500'; south, rain in the lowers areas, gusty winds 30-40 mph with gusts to 55 mph possible; gale warning for the Strait and Inland Waters, and some possible coastal flooding due to the King Tides combined with the wind driven waves and there's some partial clearing in Bellingham at this time. For all of us that means, travel will be difficult at higher elevations, along the coast there could be some minor flooding over the roads, and the wind could break some branches or even push over s few trees leading to some power outages.  The weather for today shows us reaching a high near 50 with Newhalem coming in near 40 degrees.  Winds will be from a southerly direction 30-40 mph and gusty with an occasional gust to 55mph. The current weather system could produce some thunderstorms this afternoon and overnight so there could be some lighting along with downpours of rain. Lows overnight will  be in the lower 40s for most of Whatcom County with Newhalem in the mid-30s. We can look for more rain tomorrow and wind that will be much less than today.  Some areas will see see a southerly breeze tomorrow while others will  see the wind switch to the northeast.  The rain will become heavier Thursday and Friday; the rain combined with the snow will drain into rivers and streams and push them high Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  No flooding is forecast at this time; however, it's always wise to check WSDOT for road information as well as Whatcom County Public Works website for road closures or detour information.

Rivers and Streams

Not much change for the rives and streams today.  There has been some heavy rain that is causing creeks and streams to run faster and higher but the levels haven't pushed out of the banks except a few places.  This has not affected the river.  As we head into Thursday and Friday, things could change a little.  Heavy rain combined with some snow melt will push the forks of the Nooksack higher but still below the bank tops.  So, no flooding, but continue to monitor weather radio and local stations for any changes that occur.  

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

Strong winds will continue across the area waters today in the wake of a frontal system that traversed the region this morning.  Gale warnings are in effect for all area waters.  A weak surface ridge will bring lighter winds briefly on Wednesday before another front arrives by Thursday.  Another system will then reach the area over the weekend.  Winds.  Today:  S 25-35 knots.  Wind waves 4-6'.  A slight chance of rain in the morning then rain in the afternoon. Tonight:  S wind 20-30 knots becoming SW 15-25 knots after midnight.  Wind waves 2-5'.  Showers likely in the evening.  A slight chance of thunderstorms.  A chance of showers after midnight.   Tomorrow:  S wind 10-20 knots becoming SE 5-15 knots in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1-3'.  Showers likely and a slight chance of thunderstorms in the morning then a chance of rain in the afternoon.  Tomorrow Night:  E wind 15-25 knots rising to 20-30 knots after midnight.  Note:  Following the gale warning, there are periods of wind that fall in the Small Craft Advisory level winds.  The NWS is likely to issue that advisory later so monitor marine weather for the most up to date information.  King Tides will continue today and tomorrow with levels right around the 10.00' mark.  With the forecast winds for today, watch for some spray or water being pushed a little ways inland.

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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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