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The original item was published from 11/29/2022 9:03:35 AM to 12/5/2022 12:00:02 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: November 29, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Tuesday, November 29, 2022 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Numerous warning have been issued for Whatcom County today-Gale, High-Wind, Winter Storm. Timing appears to be mid-afternoon or a little after. Rain/snow to begin, then blowing/drifting snow later. Hazardous travel conditions will develop at some point.

Active Incidents



-Washington State Department of Transportation   North Central Region – 2830 Euclid Ave. Wenatchee, WA 98801– 509-667-3000


North Cascades Highway to remain closed for winter:   Nov. 8, 2022WINTHROP – With nearly 30 inches of snowfall over the weekend, SR 20 North Cascades Highway will remain closed for the winter between Ross Lake Dam trailhead (milepost 134) and Early Winters gate (milepost 178).  The route was closed between milepost 134 and 171 for potential avalanche danger on Thursday, Nov. 3. Throughout the weekend, the North Cascades and the area surrounding the eastern slopes were repeatedly hit with snow and rain.  Though the immediate avalanche danger is now low, conditions are likely to change. Maintaining the closure now will allow crews to focus time and resources on the communities east of the mountain passes that have received up to 2 feet of snow in places.


-  GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 4 AM PST WEDNESDAY. for southeast winds 30 to 40 knots.  This is for the northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands.

-  HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 7 AM PST WEDNESDAY for east to southeast winds 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 55 mph expected.  This is for the areas of San Juan County, Western Whatcom County, Western Skagit County and Admiralty Inlet Area.

-   WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 4 PM PST WEDNESDAY for snow. Total snow accumulations of 1 to 4 inches, with locally higher amounts possible. This is for the following areas: Lowlands of western Whatcom County, including Point Roberts, Lummi Island, Bellingham, and Sumas, Lowlands of western Skagit County, including Cypress Island, Guemes Island, Anacortes, Mount Vernon, and La Conner and Everett and vicinity, including Stanwood, Marysville, and Mountlake Terrace.

-  WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 4 PM PST WEDNESDAY for heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 1 to 2 feet in the high elevations and 6 to 12 inches in the valleys.  Winds gusting as high as 50 mph. This is for the following areas:   Cascade mountains and valleys of Whatcom and Skagit Counties, including Maple Falls, the Mount Baker Ski Area, Newhalem, Lyman, and Concrete, Cascade mountains and valleys of Snohomish and King Counties, including Darrington, Index, Skykomish, Stevens Pass, and Snoqualmie Pass and Cascade  mountains and valleys of Pierce and Lewis Counties, including he Crystal Mountain Ski Area, Paradise on Mount Rainier, Ashford, Randle, and Packwood.

-  Environment Canada has issued a "Gale Warning" for The Strait of Georgia- South of Nanaimo:  Winds east 15-25 knots increasing to southeast 25-35 knots early this evening then diminishing to southeast 15-20 knots late overnight.  Wind veering to southwest 15-250- knots Wednesday morning then becoming southwest 15knot Wednesday afternoon. Wind becoming easterly 10-15 knots Wednesday evening.

- Environment Canada has also issued a Snowfall warning for the Fraser Valley from Chilliwack to Hope and west including Abbotsford. Snow, heavy at times will accumulate in amounts of 10-15 cm (4-7 inches) near Abbotsford to 5-10cm for Richmond and Delta (approximately 2 -4 inches). Strong southwest winds gusting to 40-70 km/h may occur.

Inland Whatcom County Weather

We'll begin this morning with cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 20s to low to mid-30s. Things will change rapidly this afternoon and overnight (see warnings above). We'll see rain/snow to begin with changing to all snow as the temperatures get colder.  Accumulations will increase from the coast inland. Two to four inches of snow will fall in the lowlands with considerably more snow in the foothills and higher elevations. Along the coastal areas, the snow may be wet enough to hinder blowing and drifting, but moving farther inland, temperatures will be cold enough and the wind strong enough to cause blowing and drifting. Sumas could see 5-9 inches of snow tonight with some additional snow tomorrow. Maple Falls may see a little less snow but Newhalem could see amount of 11-16" of the white stuff through tomorrow.  High temperatures will range from the mid-30s to upper 30s along the coast to upper 20s in Sumas. Overnight lows will not drop excessively, but wind chills will be in single digits resulting from the wind gusts.  Exact timing of the storm system will begin is hard to predict, but indications are sometime around mid-afternoon or a little later.  Then we will continue to see effects into tomorrow. The winds will calm somewhat tomorrow but still be breezy. The chance for snow continues as well for the next few days although accumulations appear to be light.

For the Mt Baker Ski Resort: This is the storm you have been waiting for. This storm could dump well over two feet of snow between now and tomorrow night. Nevertheless, with this much snow, even after the roads are cleared, come hazardous travel conditions. Be prepared.

For everyone traveling over the next few days, pack your winter safety kit and communicate your travel plans-departure and arrival times along with planned route of travel.

Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams

We are not seeing anything on the horizon that is cause for concern at this time concerning river flooding. Snow, instead of rain in the higher elevations means less water draining into the rivers at this time.  For a look at the future river levels, use the Public Works website to check the river levels -; it is tied into NOAAs Northwest River Forecast Center.  Also on the Public Works website is a list of closed roads caused by flooding when it arises.

Whatcom County Coastal 

An area of low pressure will deepen to under 985  millibars as it approaches the north end of Vancouver Island late  tonight. An associated warm front will lift northward across the  coastal waters this afternoon and into the interior waters tonight.  A trailing frontal occlusion will sweep onshore Wednesday  morning. Another front will reach the area on Friday.    Wind:  TODAY E wind 15 to 25 kt rising to 25 to 35 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft building to 4 to 6 ft in the  afternoon. A chance of rain in the afternoon.  TONIGHT SE wind 30 to 40 kt. A few gusts to 50 kt possible this  evening. Wind waves 5 to 7 ft. Rain in the evening then snow after  midnight.  WED S wind 25 to 35 kt becoming SW 20 to 30 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 4 to 6 ft. Rain in the morning then rain  likely in the afternoon.  WED NIGHT SE wind 20 to 30 kt becoming NE 25 to 35 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 4 to 6 ft.  THU NE wind 20 to 30 kt. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft.  

Several periods of Gale Force Wind or Small Craft Advisory level winds are forecast over the next several days. Monitor marine weather to ensure you have the most up to date information.  

Tide Data (Cherry Point)

November 29, 20220240
November 29, 2022105110.22
November 29, 20221709
November 29, 202219516.74
November 30, 20220336
November 30, 2022113810.09
November 30, 20221824
November 30, 202221545.88
December 01, 20220435
December 01, 2022
December 01, 2022
December 02, 2022

*Denotes King Tide

King Tides In Whatcom County For 2022/2023


In Whatcom County we pay particular attention to King Tides that occur in the late fall / early winter as many times these coincide with, and can be aggravated by, our wind storms. This has resulted in significant impacts in our coastal communities, such as occurred in Birch Bay and Blaine in December of 2018 when over 5 million dollars in damage was caused by a King Tide and wind storm. We define a King Tide as a tide of at least 10.20 at Cherry Point (Whatcom Counties official tide station).


For those who are tide watchers, these are pretty impressive tides and fun to go see when they happen. However, when a westerly storm is added to a King Tide as happened in the 2018 storm, the tides were pushed nearly two feet higher from the storm pressure (called storm surge) and then the west wind added another 3-4 feet of waves. It is for these reasons that the Whatcom County Sheriff's

Office Division of Emergency Management, along with significant support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, keeps a close eye on King Tides.


Over the next couple months, we will have King Tides on the following days:


11/25/2022Fri7:22 AM10.23
11/26/2022Sat8:14 AM10.43
11/27/2022Sun9:07 AM10.45
11/28/2022Mon10:00 AM10.36
11/29/2022Tue10:51 AM10.22
12/9/2022Fri7:31 AM10.22
12/10/2022Sat8:07 AM10.24
12/23/2022Fri6:32 AM10.39
12/24/2022Sat7:17 AM10.72
12/25/2022Sun8:01 AM10.83
12/26/2022Mon8:44 AM10.8
12/27/2022Tue9:25 AM10.67
12/28/2022Wed10:04 AM10.49
12/29/2022Thu10:41 AM10.28
1/21/2023Sat6:21 AM10.52
1/22/2023Sun6:57 AM10.69
1/23/2023Mon7:31 AM10.72
1/24/2023Tue8:03 AM10.66
1/25/2023Wed8:34 AM10.53
1/26/2023Thu9:03 AM10.31

For each of these dates, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prepares a customreport for Whatcom County. This report is sent to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office Division of Emergency Management who in turn broadcast it to the Whatcom County Coastal Warning Group, made up of key officials, public safety agencies, and organizations subject to coastal impacts (such as refineries, hotels, community groups and industry). For example, the Forecast for Whatcom County that was sent on January 6, 2022 predicting the potential impacts for January 7, 2022 coastal flooding was distributed to this group (See Forecast for Whatcom County at end of this article.)

Cherry Point Is The Official Whatcom County Tide Gauge


Anyone mariner who travels our waters knows that the tides in along every shoreline in Whatcom County are slightly different. For example, on December 16th, the highest King Tide of the year (10.8 feet at 0736) occurs. The 10.8 feet is for the NOAA Cherry Point Tide Station. However, at Gooseberry Point the high tide is 10.3 feet at 0720. In Bellingham it is 9.8 feet at 0722, and in Blaine it is 11.0 feet at 0730. The reasons we see a difference has to do with the shape of the coast, depth of water, height of tide gauge and a host of other factors. However, for our planning and baseline we use Cherry Point.


For more information on King Tides, and to help scientists build a library of coastal impacts, you can visit the Washington King Tides program at the University of Washington.

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:


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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