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The original item was published from 12/7/2022 9:07:28 AM to 12/13/2022 12:00:03 AM.

News Flash

Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: December 7, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Wednesday, December 07, 2022 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

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:


-   GALE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 10 AM PST THURSDAY for southeast winds 25-35 knots. This is for the Northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands.

-  WIND ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM PST THURSDAY for southeast winds 20 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph expected.  This is for San Juan County, Western Whatcom County and Admiralty Inlet Area.

-  WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM PST THURSDAY ABOVE 1500 FEET for snow expected above 1500 feet. Total snow accumulations of up to 8 inches.  This is for the 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   the 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.  Wind easterly 5-15 knots veering to southeast 15-20 knots this morning then increasing to southeast 20-25 knots late this afternoon.  Wind increasing to southeast 25-35 knots this evening then diminishing to south 20-25 knots overnight.  Wind diminishing to south 15-20 knots Thursday morning then veering to southwest 15 knots near noon Thursday.  Wind becoming variable 5-15 knots Thursday afternoon then becoming southeast 10-20 knots Thursday evening.

Inland Whatcom County Weather: 

The rain has arrived and we can expect it to be around for the remainder of the work week.  Temperatures will reach into the 40s for most areas (except for Newhalem topping out at 35 degrees) with Pt Roberts getting above 45 degrees. Of course, Pt Roberts will also see some wind with these temperatures so it will feel colder.  If you're traveling towards Sumas or into the foothills, you're likely to encounter rain/snow mixtures. We're not expecting any accumulation but visibility is likely to be affected from time to time with heavier snow and some lingering fog. Overnight, temperatures are going to drop to the freezing mark or below in the foothills and higher elevations.  We can expect some southerly winds to kick in later as well (see wind advisory above) with gusts into the 20-30 mph range or higher. Tomorrow will be much like today except the wind will continue throughout the day though the gusts may simmer down a little. Highs will struggle into the 40s with the exception of Newhalem which continues to languish in the mid-30s. Rain/snow mixtures will continue with Newhalem seeing all snow tomorrow night. Lows will be around the freezing mark so your are just as likely to see slightly above or below which can be extremely hazardous due to subtle road condition changes.  We will continue to see rain/snow mixtures or all rain going into the weekend.

Mt Baker Ski Resort: Definitely, snow is on the way, not necessarily  today, but between tonight and tomorrow night, you could see anywhere from 12"-24" of new snow with additional 1"-3"  following over 12 hour periods into Friday night. Things keep looking better and better for skiers. A number of chairs lifts are open.  See the Mt Baker Ski Report at:

Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams

No change here.  The weather system impacting our area over the next couple of days will do little to change the river level.  Snow, instead of rain in the higher elevations means less water draining into the rivers at this time and the water that does drain into the system can easily be handled by current river channel.  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 

Winds will gradually increase into the afternoon  before a vigorous front moves through the area tonight and  Thursday. Gale force winds are expected over the coastal waters  and northern interior waters. A second frontal system will move  through the area Friday night and Saturday, possibly bringing gale  force winds to some area waters.   Wind:  TODAY SE wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 20 to 30 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft in the  afternoon.  TONIGHT SE wind 25 to 35 kt. Wind waves 4 to 6 ft. A slight  chance of rain in the evening then rain after midnight.  THU SE wind 25 to 35 kt becoming S 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 4 to 6 ft subsiding to 2 to 4 ft in the  afternoon. Rain.  THU NIGHT S wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft.  FRI S wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less.   
Aside from the Gale Warning now, several periods of 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)

December 07, 202206159.63
December 07, 20221101
December 07, 202214558.48
December 07, 20222247
December 08, 2022065510.04
December 08, 20221157
December 08, 202215168.23
December 08, 20222318
December 09, 2022073110.22*
December 09, 20221251
December 09, 202215398.01
December 09, 20222351

*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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