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The original item was published from 10/21/2022 10:14:48 AM to 10/28/2022 12:00:04 AM.

News Flash

Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: October 21, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Friday, October 21, 2022 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Active Incidents

Sever Weather Damage 21-18 Emergency Proclamation by the Governor:  Covers the severe wind and rainstorm event that began on November 12, 2021.


The Whatcom County Fire Marshall issued a Stage 1 Burn Ban for unincorporated Whatcom County effective Saturday, July 16, 2022; this burn ban remains in effect today.  As of that time, all land clearing and yard debris burning was to be discontinued at that time and all issued burn permits are suspended.  Recreational fires will still be allowed with the landowner’s permission but must meet specific requirements (see URL:; or contact the fire marshal's office).   Addiotionally,

- If your property lies within Whatcom County Fire Districts (WCFD) 5- Pt. Roberts, 11- Lummi Island, or 17- Sandy Point, you must check with those fire districts for outdoor burning restrictions and to obtain outdoor burning permits (when available).


- If your property lies within, or you are visiting property that is fire protected by Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), or a federal parks or forest agency, you must contact those organizations about outdoor burning restrictions.


.- SR-20 (North Cascade Highway).  Several single lane closures are in effect for this week.  Flaggers or temporary signals will be used to control traffic.  Check the WSDOT website for updates on closure status - 

Environment Canada has issued a "Strong Wind Warning for the Strait of Georgia-South of Nanaimo". Wind northwest 15025 knots diminishing to light this morning then increasing to northwest 10-15 knots near midnight except light near Vancouver.  Wind increasing to northwest 15-20 knots Saturday afternoon except light near Vancouver.

-Air Quality Alert extended until 10:00am this morning (Friday). The air quality is expected to remain or become unhealthy for sensitive groups. The air quality along the Cascade Valleys may be further diminished during this period especially for locations near fires.  Everyone, especially sensitive groups, should limit time spent spent outdoors, avoid strenuous activities outdoors, and choose light
indoor activities.

Inland Whatcom County Weather

The first of several storm systems is  now passing the area bringing rain to the area, but not much wind. We can expect the rain to continue into this evening followed by showers tomorrow. Temperatures are going to be much cooler, especially if you are going to be in Newhalem.  Look for low 50s to around 60 along the coast and cooler inland. Lows tonight will range from the low 30s in Maple Falls to low 40s in other places in the county. Saturday's highs will  be in the 40s for Newhalem and low to mid 50s in other county locations.  Saturday night will see partly cloudy skies and lows in the upper 20s Maple Falls to mid to upper 30s in other locations; coastal areas will be a little warmer. Sunday will be partly to mostly sunny but temperatures will remain cool. Newhalem will be in the 40s while other locations will  see 50+. More clouds roll in Sunday night along with the chance for rain which will continue into Monday. The only location where wind conditions are really noticeable will be Pt Roberts where 20 mph gusts could be experienced tomorrow.  Otherwise, wind should be less than 15 mph. If you are headed to the higher elevations such as the ski area, expect snow today and some heavy snow this evening. Pack your winter safety kit before embarking on a trip to the higher elevations.

Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams

We can expect a small increase in the river level from the current storm.  And, then there are a couple of more weather systems behind that will add a little more to the river level with each passing.  There are no concerns about the river level at this time.  However, if you have any activities planned on or near the river, the level will rise and so situational awareness is paramount so you don't put yourself in a position where your safety could be compromised.  For example, a sandbar may disappear due to even a small increase in the river level.   And hypothermia is a real threat should you become wet.  Don't forget, you can always go to the Public Works website to check the river levels -

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

A seasonably strong frontal system will pass over  area waters today, bringing breezy winds to mainly the coastal  waters as well as hazardous seas. Will will ease briefly on Sunday  before the next system brings another round of breezy winds and  hazardous seas. Active weather will then remain likely through the  end of the week as additional systems move across the area.  WINDS: TODAY SW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. Rain likely  in the morning then rain in the afternoon.  TONIGHT S wind to 10 kt becoming W 10 to 20 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft after midnight. A  chance of rain in the evening then a chance of showers after  midnight.  SAT NW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. A chance of showers.  SAT NIGHT N wind to 10 kt becoming NE 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft after  midnight.  SUN E wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SE to 10 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less in the afternoon.  SUN NIGHT S wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after  midnight.  MON S wind 25 to 35 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 4 to  6 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less. 

Over the weekend, wind will kick up waves in the 1-3 foot range. However, as we get into Sunday night and Monday, winds will increase to the "Small Craft Advisory" levels and even "Gale Force Winds" if the 35 knots prediction is correct. Timing could change so make sure to monitor marine weather for the latest advisories, watches, or warnings.

Tide Information (Cherry Point)

October 21, 202202326.00
October 21, 20220852
October 21, 202216048.63
October 21, 20222226
October 22, 202203416.46
October 22, 20220939
October 22, 202216248.60
October 22, 20222249
October 23, 202204407.02
October 23, 20221022
October 23, 202216428.57
October 23, 20222314


Emergency Management Tips and Reminders

Fall Cleanup and Maintenance for Your Car

Fall weather is here along with the changes that come with it.  Here are a few things to accomplish as we transition to the unsettled weather:

-Inspect your car battery.  Check the connections to make sure they are snug and tight.  If there is a lot of corrosion around the post, have them cleaned so connections remain solid. Cold cranking amps are important as the days get colder.  Check with your service provider to make sure your battery is up to the task; there's nothing worse than the fading cranking power of our battery on a cold day.

-Check your headlights to make sure they are not glazed or clouded over.  With time, oxidation creates a film that results in a dimmer and more restricted illumination field.  Having someone clean them or cleaning them yourself will make a dramatic improvement.

-Tires are extremely important for several reasons. Remaining tread provides traction as well as channeling water away from the place where the tire contacts the road.  Reduction in tread enables water to build under the tire leading to hydroplaning and loss of control.  Tread helps ensure better traction in snow.

-Streaks on your windshield or the inability of the wipers to make solid contact with the windshield is a sure indicator your visibility is probably being limited as well.  If you're experiencing this, it's time to get new wipers.  You can install them yourself, or in some cases depending on where you purchase them, attendants will install them for you.

-Car repair in general.  if your vehicle is demonstrating abnormal issues (e.g. difficult starting, unknown noises, blower fans not working or squeaking/rattling, etc.), have them looked at as soon as you can as you will soon need the defrost function in your car and other issues are unlikely to get better on their own.

Flood Preparedness.  

Several inquiries have been made to this office regarding sand and sandbags.   Whatcom County does not provide either prior to a proclamation of emergency which is issued when flood conditions are clearly defined.  In addition, the number of bags the county has is limited and obtaining sand or additional sandbags in the midst of a flood fight may be impossible or delayed, at the very least. The number of locations where these items are placed is also limited.  If you are concerned about the need for sand or sandbags, now is the time for you to purchase these items through local vendors or order the sandbags online.  Sand can be obtained through local landscaping or sand and gravel companies.   In addition to sand and sandbags, some responders use plastic layered with sandbags to provide a protective barrier.   There are a number of short you tube videos explaining a variety of sandbag protective methods.  Whattcom County Public Works also has developed a list of vendors who have sand and sandbags for sale.  See:

Wildfire Preparedness

While we have been extremely fortunate concerning the risk for wildfire to date, things could change rapidly with dry, hot weather. Now is the time to inventory your home environment to see what wildfire risks you can mitigate against.  To that extent, the following information was taken from the National Fire Protection Agency on wildfire preparedness. Additional information about the wildfires and the Firewise program can be found at the NFPA website:

1. HOME IGNITION ZONES:  To increase your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire, choose fire-resistant building materials and limit the amount of flammable vegetation in the three home ignition zones. The zones include the Immediate Zone: (0 to 5 feet around the house), the Intermediate Zone (5 to 30 feet), and the Extended Zone (30 to 100 feet).

2. LANDSCAPING AND MAINTENANCE:  To reduce ember ignitions and fire spread, trim branches that overhang the home, porch, and deck and prune branches of large trees up to 6 to 10 feet (depending on their height) from the ground. Remove plants containing resins, oils, and waxes. Use crushed stone or gravel instead of flammable mulches in the Immediate Zone (0 to 5 feet around the house). Keep your landscape in good condition.

3. ROOFING AND VENTS:  Class A fire-rated roofing products, such as composite shingles, metal, concrete, and clay tiles, offer the best protection. Inspect shingles or roof tiles and replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration. Box in eaves, but provide ventilation to prevent condensation and mildew. Roof and attic vents should be screened to prevent ember entry.

4. DECKS AND PORCHES:  Never store flammable materials underneath decks or porches. Remove dead vegetation and debris from under decks and porches and between deck board joints.

5. SIDING AND WINDOWS:  Embers can collect in small nooks and crannies and ignite combustible materials; radiant heat from flames can crack windows. Use fire-resistant siding such as brick, fibercement, plaster, or stucco, and use dual-pane tempered glass windows.

6. EMERGENCY RESPONDER ACCESS:  Ensure your home and neighborhood have legible and clearly marked street names and numbers. Driveways should be at least 12 feet wide with a vertical clearance of 15 feet for emergency vehicle access.


  • Develop, discuss, and practice an emergency action plan with everyone in your home. Include details for handling pets, large animals, and livestock.
  • Know two ways out of your neighborhood and have a predesignated meeting place.
  • Always evacuate if you feel it’s unsafe to stay—don’t wait to receive an emergency notification if you feel threatened from the fire.
  • Conduct an annual insurance policy checkup to adjust for local building costs, codes, and new renovations. n Create or update a home inventory to help settle claims faster.



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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