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The original item was published from 12/15/2022 9:19:24 AM to 12/21/2022 12:00:04 AM.

News Flash

Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: December 15, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Thursday, December 15, 2022 Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Active Incidents



-  North Cascades Highway to remain closed for winter:



Inland Whatcom County Weather: 

The weather will continue to provide us with mostly sunny skies for the next couple of days before brining the chance of rain/snow to the lower areas of the county and a chance for all snow in the upper elevations.  Of course, a temperature change of just a degree or two can cause all snow or all rain to occur; we'll just have to wait and see.  So for today, expect winds to be variable depending on where you are in the county but the velocity will be 10 mph or less. Skies will be mostly sunny during the day with partly cloudy skies tonight and increasing clouds tomorrow night. Temperatures will reach to the 40 degree mark in the lower parts of the county with higher elevations only reaching the mid-30s or so.  Lows overnight should be expected to be below the freezing mark including some mid-20s.  Fog, and ice fog, will be abundant and that should create a heightened state of safety as the fog will settle on roads, bridges, and overpasses leading to more slick conditions.  Sidewalks are not exempt and can become slippery as well.  Take all precautions necessary, such as slowing down while driving, and spreading sand or salt on sidewalks to prevent slipping and falling.

While there has been no new snow at the ski resort, temperatures are cool enough that it's not melting.  This  morning Heather Meadow is showing a base of 68" while Pan Dome is at 84". Chair 1 and 2 are closed as is 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 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 

Light offshore flow will persist through Friday.  Onshore flow will develop over the weekend. Fraser outflow  expected early next week.   Wind: TODAY N wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less.  TONIGHT N wind to 10 kt becoming E after midnight. Wind waves  1 ft or less.  FRI E wind to 10 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind waves  1 ft or less.  FRI NIGHT Light wind becoming E to 10 kt after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less.  SAT S wind to 10 kt rising to 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. 
Tide Data (Cherry Point)

December 15, 20220300
December 15, 202211039.54
December 15, 20221825
December 15, 202221115.29
December 16, 20220344
December 16, 202211329.40
December 16, 20221856
December 16, 202223305.12
December 17, 20220434
December 17, 202211579.28
December 17, 20221925
December 18, 202201275.66

*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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