- North Cascades Highway to remain closed for winter:
ADVISORIES, WATCHES AND WARNINGS:
- SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 AM PST WEDNESDAY for northeast winds 15 to 30 knots. Advisory Location: Northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands.
- WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST THIS MORNING for very cold wind chills. Wind chills as low as 10 below zero. Advisory Location: Lowlands of western Whatcom County, including Point Roberts, Lummi Island, Bellingham, and Sumas.
Inland Whatcom County Weather:
Cold weather expected for the next several days with wind chills dropping below zero. Today, clouds should dissipate and sunny skies will dominated the scene. High temperatures along the coast will reach into the mid 20s but colder temperatures will dominate in the interior parts of the county. The foothills will only see highs in the upper teens. Winds from the east northeast are expected to gust to around 30 mph; this is a Fraser outflow that will be strongest in the Sumas area and then spread out to Lynden, Everson, etc. Maple Falls and Newhalelm are not expected to see much wind. Tonight, Sumas will see single digits for lows while other areas of the county will remain in the low teens. Wind chills will continue to drop below zero during this period as gusts in the 20-30 mph range are still forecast. Clouds will increase overnight and there is a chance for some light snow with accumulations less than one inch. Tomorrow, there is a greater chance for snow with one to three inches possible in the lowlands, two to four inches in Maple Falls and the foothills, and three to five inches in the Newhalem area. Wind from the northeast is still predicted for the Sumas area so people living in the Sumas, Lynden, and Everson areas should expect some drifting to occur in places.
The Mt Baker Ski Resort reported eight inches of new snow over the past 24 hours. This morning Heather Meadow is showing a base of 77" while Pan Dome is at 91". 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: https://www.mtbaker.us/snow-report/
Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams
No change here. The Nooksack River Gauges at all locations show the river level steady. The extended range modeling does show the river level coming up some after Christmas. All gauges continue to show it will remain below flood levels. 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 - https://www.whatcomcounty.us/666/Forecasts-Current-River-Conditions; 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
Strong surface high pressure over British Columbia with lower pressure over the waters through tonight. A frontal system will move through the area Tuesday. Weak Fraser river outflow winds Wednesday and Wednesday night. Another frontal system will arrive Friday. Wind: TODAY NE wind 15 to 25 kt rising to 20 to 30 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. TONIGHT NE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. A chance of snow after midnight. TUE NE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. Snow likely in the morning then rain likely in the afternoon. TUE NIGHT NE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. WED NE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft.
Note: There are several periods where winds reach "Small Craft Advisory" levels over the next couple of days in addition to the current advisory. Monitor marine weather for changing conditions.
Tide Data (Cherry Point)
|DATE||TIME||HIGH TIDE||LOW TIDE|
|December 19, 2022||0300||6.68|
|December 19, 2022||0647||5.81|
|December 19, 2022||1245||9.17|
|December 19, 2022||2027||0.06|
|December 20, 2022||0407||7.86|
|December 20, 2022||0801||6.74|
|December 20, 2022||1311||9.21|
|December 20, 2022||2103||-1.21|
|December 21, 2022||0500||8.94|
|December 21, 2022||0910||7.41|
|December 21, 2022||1342||9.29|
|December 21, 2022||2141||-2.26|
*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:
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.
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: https://whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/70454/UPDATED-Public-Sand-Sandbag-Availability-2022-2023
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.