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The original item was published from 8/21/2023 7:37:48 AM to 8/24/2023 12:00:02 AM.


Sheriff - Emergency Management Daily Briefing

Posted on: August 21, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Monday, August 21, 2023 Emergency Management Daily Briefing for Whatcom County

This week looks to have relatively mild weather, with a possibility of a few light showers. Be safe around water.

Active Incidents

The Sourdough Fire north of Diablo Lake started on Saturday, July 29. It is currently burning in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area within the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, in very steep terrain. Air quality in the area is very bad in places, see here for local info. If you choose to travel in the area, please do not stop on the highway to take pictures or look at the fire. Do not fly drones in the area, as this will ground the helicopter and air tankers working on the fire. More information can be found here.

Hwy 20 is closed as of 1900 Thursday, August 10 indefinitely due to falling rocks and debris on the road. There may be large amounts of smoke from the fire, particularly in the afternoons as fire activity increases due to weather changes. Please do not call Dispatch to report it, fire crews are working on the fire. No flying of drones in the area due to aircraft working on the fire.

Advisories, Watches and Warnings

An air quality alert has been issued for Whatcom County until noon today. See here for more information. Additional information can be found below as well.

July 24 a drought emergency was declared by WA State Dept of Ecology for Whatcom County.

Whatcom County Fire Marshal has initiated a Stage 2 Burn Ban effective 1600 Wednesday, August 16. See here for more information.

A subject of note here is the Mt Baker Hwy closure which is affecting a large area of the county. Please visit the Whatcom County Public Works Road Closures and Restrictions page for more information.

Weather Around Whatcom County

Whatcom County Inland Weather

Dry weather will remain in place through the forecast period. By Monday afternoon, we'll start to see a stronger push of onshore winds bring some cleaner air into the region with air quality improving notably as we head into the afternoon and evening. 

From there, we'll see some patchy low clouds develop late Monday night into Tuesday morning with continued onshore flow, but otherwise we'll see dry weather with temperatures rising into the 70s.

A weak storm system off the coast will then spread a few light rain showers into the region Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, but conditions look to remain fairly dry before the threat for any showers ends in the afternoon. Dry but cooler weather can be expected on Thursday before another system pushes into the region late overnight into Friday spinning some rain showers, and potentially a few thunderstorms, northward through the area.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather

For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County today the wind will come from the southwest at 5-15 knots. Wind waves 2 feet or less. Moving into the evening, winds will come from the south at 10-20. Wind waves 1-3 feet. Tomorrow winds come from the south at 5-15 knots becoming 10 knots in the afternoon. Wind waves 2 feet or less. A slight chance of showers in the afternoon. For a look at real-time coastal weather and tides you can link here to the Cherry Point NOAA Tide Station.

Air Quality

Visit the Whatcom County Health Department's Wildfire Smoke for up-to-date information and air quality.

Emergency Management Tips and Reminders

CERT Activities

No activities currently scheduled for CERT.

Summer Water Safety Tips

Washington waters are often cold enough to cause muscles to not work. Even when the outside temperatures are high, water temperatures can be cold enough to overwhelm even the strongest swimmer.

If you plan to be in or near water this summer, follow these recommendations:

Learn to swim, including water safety and survival skills — To enjoy the water safely, learn swim strokes, water safety, survival skills, and becoming comfortable in the water.

Wear a life jacket — Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket when boating, tubing, rafting, swimming or other activities in or on lakes, rivers, salt water, or pools without a lifeguard. Life jacket information for children and teens.

Swim where there is a lifeguard — Swim in areas with lifeguards when possible. Wear a life jacket while swimming in unguarded waters or until the guards start their service.

Supervise children in or near water — Always provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water. Stay within touching distance of young children at all times.

Do not use alcohol or drugs during water activities — Never use alcohol or other impairing drugs during water and boating activities or while supervising children around the water. Alcohol affects balance, coordination, and judgement. Exposure to sun and heat worsen these effects.

Know what to do in an emergency — Learn first aid and CPR. Seconds count—the more quickly lifesaving CPR is started, the better the chances of recovery. Bring a cell phone or know where to find the nearest phone. Dial 911 in an emergency. Learn safe ways to rescue others without putting yourself in danger (reach for them, throw something to them, don’t go into the water after them). If you are in trouble: flip, float, relax (like a starfish).

The Emergency Management Daily Briefing is produced Monday - Friday unless an update is required for an incident or event over a weekend or during holidays.

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