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The original item was published from 11/1/2022 8:11:00 AM to 11/6/2022 12:00:06 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: October 31, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Monday, October 31, 2022 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Decreasing chance of showers for the next few days. Temperatures hovering in the 40s and 50s for highs with lows dropping to mid-30s to around 40. Southwest winds 10-15 mph today with Pt Roberts seeing gusts to 20 mph. Next weather system arrives Thursday

Active Incidents

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


-Burn Ban Lifted!  WHATCOM COUNTY FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE: " Due to the increase in fuel moisture levels and recent rain, the Fire Marshal’s Office will lift the burn ban for outdoor burning.  The burn ban will be lifted at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022 for the unincorporated areas of Whatcom County.  At that time, verbal burn permits will be available via the Outdoor Burning Information Line.  Written burn permits for fires larger than 4’ X 4’ will be available at the Planning & Development Services Office located at 5280 Northwest Dr.  All outdoor burning requires a permit, except for legal recreational fires.

If your property is located within WCFD 5 – Pt. Roberts, WCFD 11 – Lummi Island, or WCFD 17 – Sandy Point, you MUST contact those fire districts to find out if outdoor burning restrictions have been lifted for those areas.

A permanent ban on open burning remains in effect for the cities and Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) of Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale, Blaine, Everson, Nooksack, Sumas, Birch Bay, Columbia Valley, and Cherry Point.  For more information on the permanent burn ban you may contact the Northwest Clean Air Agency at (360) 428-1617 or check their website at  


.- 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 - 

- SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM THIS MORNING TO 6 PM PDT THIS EVENING for southwest winds 15 to 25 kt. This is for the Northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands.

Inland Whatcom County Weather

Chances for precipitation in the form of rain will continue for the week although the next few days will see the chance for showers in the 30%-40% range.  Temperatures will remain in the 50s or mid-40s for places like Newhalem and higher elevations will  see lower temperatures yet. The wind will be predominantly from the southwest today with Pt Roberts see gusts that could get up to 20 mph or so. Pt Roberts will also see the winds shift from the southwest to the northwest later today. Low are going to get down to 40 or below in the foothills and higher elevations.  By the time we reach Wednesday, Maple Falls and Newhalem will see temperatures that will challenge the freezing mark. Therefore, there could be some frost or even ice forming in shallow puddles. Tomorrow highs will also be a few degrees cooler than today with the chance for showers around the area; not everyone will get wet but if you're one of the unlucky ones... Another weather system will enter the picture as early as Thursday and affect our weather into the weekend if not the entire weekend.  Bottom line, have a warm jacket and pack a rain coat or umbrella. The weather picture wouldn't be complete without looking a the Mt Baker Ski area.  For the most part, we're in a place where rain/now mixtures are the rule vs all of one or the other. There may be some accumulations but it could be in the form of slush or turn to slush. That will impact driving conditions, so be prepared for winter weather. Snow levels will drop as low as 1700' at night and then rise to 4000' or higher during the day.

Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams

The storm system over the weekend has moved out of the area and the remaining showers are not enough to create a river or stream level problem. The levels will slowly drop over the next three days. The next weather system will arrive on Thursday or Friday and cause the levels to rise once again.  Current projections show the levels will be about the same as this past weekend's levels. However, the top levels of ground are now becoming saturated which could increase runoff depending on fast the rain falls.  All of the cautions and warnings about not driving through water flowing over roads and having alternate routes to get to and from your destination apply.  River levels can change quickly, so don't put yourself in a position where you become stranded.  For a look at the future river levels, use the Public Works website to check the river levels -; it is tied into the NOAAs Northwest River Forecast Center. 

Plugged or clogged drains and culverts can cause local urban flooding, especially in low areas.  Clean leaves away from grates so water can flow freely. This will help prevent such localized water backups. Also, in rural areas, if you have a culvert that is plugged on your property, take the time to remove branches or other debris so water can flow freely. All of this helps in moving the water out of the areas as quickly as possible which in turn, helps avoid or reduce flooding. Thank you.

Whatcom County Coastal 

A frontal system will move inland this morning.  Onshore flow will follow the front today then ease on Tuesday and  briefly turn light offshore on Wednesday. Southerly flow will  increase on Thursday as a front approaches. This frontal system  will move through the area Thursday night and Friday.  WINDS:  TODAY SW wind 10 to 20 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. Highest wind and waves SW part.  Rain.  TONIGHT W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. A  slight chance of showers.  TUE SE wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. A chance of showers.  TUE NIGHT SW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming W 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft.  WED Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. 

Tide Information (Cherry Point)

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October 31, 202212269.51
October 31, 20221811
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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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