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The original item was published from 12/12/2022 8:35:02 AM to 12/18/2022 12:00:02 AM.

News Flash

Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: December 12, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Monday, December 12, 2022 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Active Incidents



-  North Cascades Highway to remain closed for winter:


-   SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM PST THIS MORNING for northeast winds 15 to 25 knots.  This is for the northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands.

Inland Whatcom County Weather: 

We are looking at a fairly quiet week as far as the weather is concerned.  We can expect to see sun off an on for the entire work week with mostly clear skies overnight.  The wind will be mainly in the northern part of the county with Pt Roberts seeing some gusts from the east to 20 mph later today and overnight.  Temperatures will reach the low 40s for most of the county but upper elevations such as Newalem will only get to 34 degrees or so.  Overnight lows will drop into the low 20s for Newhalem while other areas will drop to around 29 or 30.  The main hazard to be wary of is frost on the roads or ice forming where there may have been standing water.  The only remedy for this is to slow down.  Clear ice can be very deceiving as it represents such a thin layer, the road can appear as dry; it is not, and vehicle control can be lost in a fraction of a second.

While there has been no new snow at the ski resort, the snow base has jumped rather nicely.  This  morning Heather Meadow is showing a base of 74" while Pan Dome is up to 91". Chair 1 and 2 are closed along with Heather Meadows Handle Tow based on the website but keep checking for changes. See the Mt Baker Ski Report at:

Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams

No real change here.  The Nooksack River Gauge at Ferndale shows a slight decrease but other gauges show level stream flow with no impacts on flooding.  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 

Generally calmer conditions compared to what's  been seen recently is expected. Surface high pressure looks to  become the main feature this upcoming week. Light offshore flow  will persist Tuesday through Friday.   Wind: TODAY NE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming N 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft.  TONIGHT NE wind to 10 kt becoming E after midnight. Wind waves  2 ft or less.  TUE E wind to 10 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind waves  1 ft or less in the morning becoming less than 1 ft.  TUE NIGHT Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft.  WED NE wind to 10 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind waves  less than 1 ft. 
Tide Data (Cherry Point)

December 12, 20220102
December 12, 2022092010.00
December 13, 20220140
December 13, 202209579.84
December 14, 20220220
December 14, 202210329.69
December 15, 20220300
December 15, 202211039.54
December 15, 20221825
December 15, 202221115.29
December 16, 20220344
December 16, 202211329.40

*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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