Governor Inslee adjusted the indoor mask requirements yesterday (February 28th): "indoor mask requirements will be lifted as of 11:59 pm on March 11th." Masks will still be required in health care settings such as hospitals, outpatient and dental offices, long-term care settings, and correctional facilities. In addition, beginning March 1, vaccine verification for large events will no longer be required. Businesses and local governments can still choose to implement vaccination or face mask requirements for workers or customers, and school districts can still choose to have students and teachers wear masks. Federal law still requires face masks in certain settings such as public transportation and school buses. For additional information, see: https://www.governor.wa.gov/
COVID-19 - The “Proclamation of Emergency” signed by the Whatcom County Executive concerning COVID-19 remains in effect.
Sever Weather Damage 21-18 Emergency Proclamation by the Governor: Covers the severe wind and rainstorm event that began on November 12, 2021. https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/21-18%20-%20Severe%20Weather%20Damage%20%28tmp%29.pdf
The Proclamation of Emergency for the November Flooding signed by the Whatcom County Exec remains in effect. Also, individuals affected by the flood have until March 7, 2022 to register with FEMA.
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. https://www.dhs.gov/news/2021/10/29/fact-sheet-guidance-travelers-enter-us-land-ports-entry-and-ferry-terminals.
Canada allows fully vaccinated Americans to visit Canada with these Canadian requirements: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/gbi-rgf-eng.html.
ADVISORIES, WATCHES AND WARNINGS:
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 4 PM PST today for northeast winds 15-30 knots. LOCATTON: Northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands.
SR 20 Both Directions. Single-lane closure via a temporary signal on SR 20 between MP 113.7 and 114. Also, SR-20 is closed for the season at MP 134/Ross Dam Trailhead on the west side of the Cascades and MP 178 Early Winters Campground on the east side of the Cascades.
Sunny and a little cooler today with highs in the low to mid-40s with Newhalem topping out around the freezing mark. There will be some north/northeast winds today with the strongest forecast from Sumas towards Bellingham with gusts to 20-25 mph. Lows tonight will be in the low 30s or colder (Newhalem will drop to around 19 degrees overnight). Tomorrow clouds will start to increase; temperatures will be a few degrees warmer. The wind will begin to shift to the south/southeast and will be in the 5-10 mph range. Lows tomorrow night will drop to the upper 20s or mid-30s and we'll see precipitation begin to fall. There could be some rain/snow mixtures before turning to all rain on Friday. Higher elevations could continue to see the rain/snow mixtures throughout the day. There are really no accumulations to speak of but some isolated areas could see a few minutes of heavy mixtures producing a little slush on the roads. Slow down to maintain control of you vehicle. At this time, the precipitation is predicted to last through the weekend with another weather system following a day or two later. Both of these systems will cause the Nooksack River along with creeks and small streams to rise. While there is no flooding predicted, low areas, ditches, and depressions could see water build up once again. Between now and early next week the weather system could weaken or strengthen which could change the outlook.
Rivers and Streams
The Nooksack River along with creeks and streams will remain right about where they are until we get to late Saturday or Sunday. Then we'll start to see them rise some from the rain beginning tomorrow night. While no flooding is predicted, going into Monday, we will likely see water pooling again in low areas and depressions. Watch for those areas when driving so you're not caught off-guard. And always slow down if there is water pooling on the roads so you do not encounter hydroplaning.
Whatcom County Coastal Weather
High pressure will rebuild today and remain over the waters into Friday. A series of storm systems are likely to move through the area this weekend and early next week. Winds. Today: NE wind 20 to 30 kt becoming N 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. Areas of dense fog in the morning. Tonight: NW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming E 5 to 15 kt after midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. Tomorrow: SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. Tomorrow Night: SE wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft.
NOTE: We're likely to see Small Craft Advisories for Friday night and Saturday due to winds in the 15-25 knots range so monitor marine weather for these announcements.
Emergency Management Tips and Reminders
While we are starting to come out of winter, it's important to remember, the weather at lower elevations is not what you will experience at the 5000-6000' levels. Temperatures difference of 10-15 degrees or more can result in heavy rain in the lowlands and heavy snow in the upper elevations or crossing the passes. As we cross into April and May the chances for that continue to drop but a stray weather system can still result in hazardous driving conditions. With that in mind continue to be diligent. Things to be aware of:
Have your car checked to make sure all parts are in good working order. Tires should have good tread, all lights should be working, and windshield wipers should be changed if they do not provide a clean sweep of moisture on the windshield.
If there is snow on your vehicle, clean as much snow off your vehicle as possible. Windows should be completely clean for maximum visibility. Snow left on the hood of your vehicle can blow across your windshield and fog or cloud up inside due to the temperature change (another reason to clean all snow off your vehicle). Headlights, brake lights, direction lights, etc. should all be clean again to make other drivers see you and know your intentions.
Make sure you have a Winter Safety Kit in you car that contains: flashlight with extra batteries, cell phone and charger, extra blanket and clothes, high-energy food and water, games to keep children occupied, small shovel, sand or mat for traction if you encounter icy conditions, among other things deemed necessary.
If you are running your car to remain warm, remember to leave a window open to prevent a build-up of carbon monoxide.
Before leaving on a trip, call ahead and let someone know the time you are departing and your route of travel. Likewise, upon arrival at your destination, let contact know you have arrived.
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.