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The original item was published from 11/12/2021 12:03:56 PM to 11/19/2021 12:00:01 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: November 12, 2021

[ARCHIVED] November 12, 2021 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Next storm system arrives Saturday night with significant rainfall. River levels will rise Sunday and Monday and reach minor flood levels. Likely there will be some detours or road closures. Temperatures: Hi-mid-50s; Lo-mid-40s. Cooler higher elevations.

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

At approximately 0900(L), SR-9 was shutdown in both directions near the Wickersham/SR-9 intersection due to some power poles on fire.  Firefighting equipment and personnel are on scene.  When the fire is out, PSE will dispatch to make repairs.  While this is temporary, there is likely to be some wait times now followed by one-lane closures when repairs get underway.  Check WSDOT website to see if there are updates.

A  "Flood Watch" is in effect from November 11, 4:00pm until November 13, 2:00pm.  Possible flooding due to excessive rainfall.  Monitor the latest river forecasts for the expectation of flood warnings for area rivers.  Small creeks and streams may be impacted with water rising out of their banks.  Storm drains and ditches may become clogged with debris as well causing water to back up.

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.  Rainfall amount of 2-4 inches over the past 7 days has led to high soil moisture levels across western Washington."  The next storm system will bring similar or even a little more precipitation to Whatcom County.

SR-20 (North Cascades Highway) is closed for the season.  The closure points are:  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.

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

While rainfall has let up in the lowlands, it continues in the higher elevations and will  do so throughout the day.  As we get into the evening hours, we can expect partly cloudy skies overnight before the next weather system arrives tomorrow along with more rain.  Temperatures today will be moderate-in the 50s for highs and mid-40s for lows in the lower areas of the county while in the higher elevations, the temperature will be 5-7 degrees cooler.  Temperatures tomorrow will be very close to today's temperatures.  Rainfall amounts will be significant Sunday, Sunday night and into Monday which will lead to more drainage into the creeks, streams and rivers pushing them higher once again.  The snow level will remain higher so that will not be a concern at this time.  Snow levels will rise to 7,000-8,000' and drop to the 3500' level in the evenings.

Rivers and Streams

The forecast river level for this storm system has been revised downward form previous assessments.  At this moment (1100L) the river has or is just about to peak at Saxon Bridge gauge.  It should peaks somewhere between 9:00pm and 10:00 pm this evening at the Cedarville gauge and then tomorrow (Saturday) morning just before 10:00am at the Ferndale gauge.   The greater potential for some flooding will come from the next weather system beginning Saturday evening.  Predictions are levels will remain in the minor flooding level.  Three things make the next storm more significant compared to previous ones: 1.  It will last longer; 2.  The precipitation is forecast to be greater; and, 3.  The ground is now saturated leading to greater runoff.  The Public Works website on road closures will  be a key site for you to see what roads are closed or have water standing or flowing over them.  Updating the site is dependent on accurate information so there may a little bit of delay.  Nevertheless, if you run across water over the road, turn around and go a different way.  Do not risk getting stuck or washed off a road for a few minutes of time.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

A frontal system will be over the area through Friday.  Saturday will see a break in the weather before a series of frontal system cross the waters Saturday night through Monday producing stronger winds and elevated seas. Winds.  Today:  S wind 5-15 knots becoming SW to 10 knots in the afternoon  Wind waves 2' or less.  A chance of rain.  Tonight:  SW wind 5-15 knots.  Wind waves 2' or less.  A slight chance of rain in the evening.  Tomorrow:  S wind to 10 knots in the morning becoming light.  Wind waves 1' or less in the morning becoming less than 1'.  A chance of rain.           Tomorrow Night:  E wind to 10 knots becoming SE 5-15 knots after midnight.  Wind waves 2' or less.  Sunday.  S wind 5-15 knots .  Wind waves 2' or less.  Sunday Night.  S wind 5-15 knots.  Wind waves 2' or less.  Note.  The next weather system arrives Saturday night and is forecast to have gusty winds up to 30mph or a little stronger.  While the current marine forecast winds do not reflect these kinds or winds, it is likely new forecasts may show winds that reach Small Craft Advisory levels.  Therefore, monitor marine weather for the latest weather updates.

November 12, 20210449
November 12, 202112509.70
November 12, 20211940
November 12, 202123315.72
November 13, 20210556
November 13, 202111319.56
November 13, 20212022
November 14, 202101235.88
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November 14, 202114049.37
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November 15, 202102526.45

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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