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:
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.
The first weather system has now moved into the area and with it comes rain throughout the weekend. Don't look for it to be heavy but it's definitely going to be wet. Highs today will be in the mid-40s for most locations but Newhalem will probably remain in the upper 30s. There will be some gusty east/norheast winds in Point Roberts approaching 25 mph or a little stronger. That will continue into this evening but it will switch to a more easterly and then southeasterly direction. Other areas of the county will have light and variable winds up to 10 mph. Tonight we'll see lows in the mid to upper 30s for the lowlands with temperatures just above freezing in Newhalem. The snow level is sitting around the 2400' level and will rise over the day before dropping again this evening. Newhalem will see rain/snow mixtures but no accumulation. Expect more rain tomorrow and Sunday with high temperatures approaching 50 degrees and then dropping back to around 40 degrees for the lows.
Rivers and Streams
No changes for the river forecast. We'll see the river rise over the next five days peaking below flood stage but considerably higher than what it is today. If you have activities planned on or near the river be aware of the changing river level. Also, watch small streams as they are more prone to exceeding the banks. Lower areas and depressions are probably going to fill up with water again keeping everything soggy. Some ponding on roads is likely as well.
Whatcom County Coastal Weather
A front moving into British Columbia will brush Western Washington today. A stronger weather system will reach the area over the weekend and another will move through the area Monday into Tuesday. Winds. Today: SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. A chance of rain. Tonight: SE wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt after midnight. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft building to 2 to 4 ft after midnight. A chance of rain in the evening then rain likely after midnight. Tomorrow: SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. A chance of rain in the morning then rain likely in the afternoon. Tomorrow Night: E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. Sunday: SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming S to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. Sunday Night: S wind to 10 kt becoming SE 15 to 25 kt after midnight. Wind waves 1 ft building to 2 to 4 ft after midnight.
NOTE: We're likely to see Small Craft Advisories issued several times over the next three days due to winds in the 15-25 knots range so monitor marine weather for these announcements and advisories.
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.