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The original item was published from 11/15/2021 12:56:10 PM to 11/21/2021 12:00:03 AM.

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Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: November 15, 2021

[ARCHIVED] November 15, 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

The National Weather Service has issued a "Gale Warning" for the northern inland waters including the San Juan Islands and Admiralty Inlet until 7:00pm this evening for southwest winds 35-45 knots.

The National Weather Service has extended the "Flood Warning" for the Nooksack River at Ferndale, North Cedarville, and South Fork.  While the Nooksack River is expected to crest today at Saxon Bridge and Cedarville, it will be several days before waters completely recede below flood level.  Several key things for all drivers: 1.  Have an alternate way to get to/from work. 2. Allow for additional travel time as there is likely to be traffic backups as others have to take the same action you are. 3.  Slow down, there will be ponding of water on the roads and hydroplaning is a high probability; slowing down enables you to maintain control of your vehicle.  4. Use your light and signals to communicate with other drivers around you about your intentions.  5.  Do not ignore road closed signs.  Doing so could endanger your life, your passengers lives, and those called to assist you.

The National Weather Service has issued a "Special Weather Statement" as it pertains to landslides.  Continued heavy rainfall and gusty winds will cause an elevated threat of landslides to continue in western Washington.

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

Rain continues today along with gusty south turning west winds which could gust up to 50 mph this afternoon.  Temperatures will be in the mid-50s for highs dropping to low 40s this evening with the passing of the front.  Expect temperatures to be even cooler tomorrow with highs in the mid to upper 40s.  Chance of some lingering precipitation will last into this evening and even tomorrow.  Wednesday will be drier but cooler.  The next weather system will arrive Thursday with some showery activity but nothing like we just experienced.  The precipitation has led to a number of landslides around the county, mostly in the foothill areas.

Rivers and Streams

All rivers and streams have been impacted by the weather event beginning Saturday and continuing now.  The Nooksack has exceeded levee tops at various locations along the entire length of the river and is flooding into the floodplains and beyond in some cases.  The south and north forks of the Nooksack River are cresting now and will slowly begin to recede.  Crests at Everson and further downstream in Ferndale are yet to occur.  Expect additional flooding below Cedarville.  Urban flooding is occurring as culverts and drains are unable to address the volume of water and will continue to pool.  The Whatcom County Public Works websites list a large number of road closures and closure locations; however, water continues to create flooding in additional locations.  Travel at this time is not recommended and few if any direct routes to/from destinations exist.  Sumas is currently inaccessible due to water over the roads.  SR-9 and SR-11 are also closed (see WSDOT website for locations) and SR-20 is also closed at several sites due to water over the highway.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

A very strong cold front will sweep across the  waters today followed by a strong westerly push. High pressure  will build over the waters Tuesday into Wednesday for lighter  winds and subsiding seas. Offshore flow develops midweek as  surface ridging settles over the interior of British Columbia.    Winds.  Today:   S wind 25 to 35 kt becoming W 30 to 40 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. Rain. .  Tonight:  SW wind 25 to 35 kt easing to 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. A chance of showers in the  evening then rain after midnight.   Tomorrow:    W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. A chance of  showers in the morning then a slight chance of showers in the  afternoon. Tomorrow Night:  N wind 10 to 20 kt becoming E 5 to 15 kt after  midnight.   

November 15, 202102526.45
November 15, 20210801
November 15, 202114319.14
November 15, 20212128
November 16, 202104027.18
November 16, 20210855
November 16, 202114538.89
November 16, 20212156
November 17, 202104587.91
November 17, 20210946
November 17, 202115128.62
November 17, 20212223

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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