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The original item was published from 10/24/2022 8:59:24 AM to 10/30/2022 12:00:04 AM.

News Flash

Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: October 24, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Monday, October 24, 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 - 

- A GALE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PDT THIS MORNING for south winds 25-35knots are expected to occur or are occurring.

-A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM THIS MORNING TO 5 AM PDT TUESDAY for west to southwest winds 20-30 knots.
h-Environment Canada has issued a "Strong Wind Warning" for the Strait of Georgia-South of Nanaimo. Wind southeast 20-30 knots diminishing to southwest 15-20 knots this morning and to southwest 5-15 knots near noon. Wind veering to northwest 15 knots late this afternoon then diminishing to light after midnight. Wind increasing to southeast 20-30 knots Tuesday morning then diminishing to southwest 15-20 knots Tuesday evening.

- A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 AM PDT TUESDAY FOR SNOW ABOVE 4000 FEET. Additional snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches are possible. * WHERE...Cascade mountains of Whatcom and Skagit Counties, including Mount Baker Ski Area and Rainy Pass on the north Cascades Highway (state highway 20). Plan on difficult travel.

Inland Whatcom County Weather

We will see a wet work week with cool temperatures and some wind, especially in the northern part of the county.  Rain amounts are not expected to be heavy accumulations of 1/4 to 1/2 inch over 12 hour periods is possible. Expect high temperatures today to range between 40 in the Newhalem area to around 60 in Pt Roberts. The rest of the county will find itself between these numbers with the cooler temperatures at the higher elevations. Overnight lows will drop into the upper 30s to low 40s. Winds will be from the west or southwest again with Newhalem seeing gusts into the low to mid 30mph range for the next couple of days at least.  Other locations will see winds gusting to 20-24 mph today and then dropping off for tonight and tomorrow.  Newhalem will not see much wind. Mt Baker Ski Resort will likely see some accumulations of snow ranging between 1-3 inches over 12 hour periods through Thursday. There is a winter weather advisory in effect until 5:00am tomorrow morning so travel could be difficult. 

Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams

As the rain falls, we are starting to see the Nooksack River and its forks rise and fall with the passing storm systems.  We are early in the season so runoff is minimal but as we get deeper into the rainy season the ground will become more saturated enabling more runoff to enter the drainage system.  The river levels remain well below any concern at this time.  In addition to river levels though, if you are planning any activities on or near the river hypothermia is a real threat.  Don't forget, you can always go to the Public Works website to check the river levels - One additional comment regarding drainage system. Water can build behind any clogged culvert or snag (tree branches or debris than blocks normal drainage). It is absolutely imperative that water be able to move freely through the system to clear our potential accumulations that add to flooding problems. If you have culverts that are clogged, please clear them.  If there are snags you see creating problems, bring them to the attention of local authorities so they can be addressed before they become a problem.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

Relaxed winds will increase tonight as high pressure  tracks east  and away. This will allow the next system to bring  another round  of breezy winds and hazardous seas tonight and  Monday. Active  weather will then remain likely through the end of  the week as a  parade of disturbances move across the area waters.  WINDS: TODAY S wind 25 to 35 kt becoming SW 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 4 to 6 ft subsiding to 2 to 4 ft in the  afternoon. A chance of rain in the morning. A slight chance of  showers in the afternoon.  TONIGHT W wind 20 to 30 kt easing to 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. A chance of showers in the  evening then a slight chance of showers after midnight.  TUE SW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SE 20 to 30 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft building to 3 to 5 ft in the  afternoon. Rain likely in the morning then rain in the afternoon.  TUE NIGHT SW wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft.  WED W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. 

Tide Information (Cherry Point)

October 24, 202205357.63
October 24, 20221104
October 24, 202217018.56
October 24, 20222342
October 25, 202206288.24
October 25, 20221147
October 25, 202217208.56
October 26, 20220014
October 26, 202207218.79
October 26, 20221231
October 26, 202217408.56
October 27, 20220049

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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