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The original item was published from 11/10/2021 11:30:03 AM to 11/17/2021 12:00:02 AM.

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Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: November 10, 2021

[ARCHIVED] November 10, 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 Advisory" is in effect from 3:00pm this afternoon to 7:00am Thursday for the Northern Inland Waters including the San Juan Islands for east winds 15-25 knots..

The National Weather Service has issued a "Special Weather Statement" which includes western Whatcom County.  "Heavy rainfall has lead to an increased threat of landslides in western Washington."  The rainfall of the past week has put "extra pressure on soil instability, leading to an increased threat of landslides."  In addition, heavy rainfall is expected Thursday into Friday which will continue to increase the risk of landslides.

Environment Canada has issued a "Strong Wind Warning" for the Strait of Georgia-South of Nanaimo.  Wind southwesterly 5-15 knots early this afternoon then increasing to east 15-25 knots this evening.  Wind diminishing to east 10-15 knots late overnight.  Wind east 10-15 knots Thursday.

SR-20 (North Cascades Highway) closes today at 6:00pm for the season.  The closure points will be milepost 134/Ross Dam Trailhead on the west side and milepost 151/Silver Star Gate on the east. The closure was originally set for November 15thl; however, heavy snowfall and the risk of avalanches have pushed the closure date up.

 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

Along the coast we'll see some partly sunny conditions early today before clouds return and rain develops.  For the interior of the county and the foothills, expect cloudy skies and rain to continue throughout the day.  Winds directionally, will be from the southeast with occasional gusts near 20mph.  Temperatures will be a little warmer today topping the 50 degree mark for today.  Lows tonight will be in the upper 30s to just over 40 for tonight. Snow levels are expected to rise from 2100 feet to over 4700 feet after midnight.  For Veteran's Day, expect rain which will increase throughout the day.  Wind will pick up as well and there will  be gusts in the mid 20mph range tomorrow night. Highs tomorrow will be in the mid-40s for Newhalem and mid-50s for other Whatcom County locations. Rainfall in the Newhalem and Maple Falls areas is predicted to be 1-2" for tomorrow night while other areas of Whatcom County will  be considerably less. Rain looks to continue through the weekend.

Rivers and Streams

Forks of the Nooksack River will remain fairly level today and into early tomorrow.  With the additional rain, the level and flow will increase.  No flooding is expected but the river level at the Ferndale Gauge shows a height where Slater and Marine Drive could be impacted; it's a wait and see outlook at the moment.  Check the Whatcom County Public Works website for road closure information and listen to local radio stations for updates.  Make sure you have an alternate route of travel, just in case. As far as small streams and creeks, they rise and lower quickly so predicting whether or not they will flood is very problematic.  Bottom line, if water is over the road or flowing over the road, turn around and use an alternate route.  Gauging depth (especially at night) is extremely dangerous.  If you encounter a sign that indicates the road is closed or water over the road, turn around.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

Today will see a break in the weather before a strong warm front arrives tonight and Thursday.  Another strong frontal system will reach the area later Thursday and Friday.  Saturday should see a break in the weather Winds.  Today:  SE 5-15 knots.  wind waves 2' or less.  A chance of rain.  Tonight:  E wind 15-25 knots.  Wind waves 2-4'.  Rain likely.  Tomorrow:  E wind 15-25 knots easing to 5-15 knots in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2-4' subsiding to 2' or less in the afternoon.  Rain likely.  Tomorrow Night:  SE wind 15-25 knots rising to 20-30 knots after midnight.  Wind waves 3-5'.  

November 10, 20210246
November 10, 202111029.95
November 10, 20211704
November 10, 202119397.00
November 11, 20210345
November 11, 202112009.83
November 11, 20211838
November 11, 202121226.17
November 12, 20210449
November 12, 202112509.70
November 12, 20211940
November 12, 202123315.72

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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