Incident Hotline

Incident Hotline - Thursday, March 21, 2019  (2:15pm)

Advisories, Watches and Warnings:

There are no advisories, watches, or warnings for Whatcom County at this time; however, the Northwest Avalanche Center has put out a notice for “Considerable Avalanche Danger” for the west Cascade Mountains, including Mount Baker which is in effect through tonight. Careful snowpack evaluation and conservative decision-making are warranted.

.  Birch Bay Drive Remains Impacted:

  1. Birch Bay Drive north of Harborview has a suffered significant damage. Whatcom County Public Works has opened one lane northbound only between Harborview and Shintaffer with a 10 miles per hour speed limit. Southbound traffic from Birch Bay Village and Birch Point must use Shintaffer to Lincoln / Anderson roads for ingress and egress. Persons driving South from Shintaffer to Harborview may be subject to citation and a fine. There is no date for repairs to Birch Bay Drive .
  2. Birch Bay Drive south of Harborview - Whatcom County Public Works has opened Birch Bay Drive south of Harborview, both north and south, however the shoulders remain closed due to damage and debris. Pedestrians and bicyclists should use caution in this area until cleanup is complete.

Whatcom County Weather

Today will be sunny but a little cooler with some wind out of the south/southeast.  Highs will get near 60 but it will feel cooler due to the winds.  Tonight will be partly cloudy with lows in the mid-40s for most of the county.  Winds will still be around 10mph or a little stronger. Tomorrow we could still see some partly sunny skies in the lower areas of the county but there will be increasing clouds and the chance for rain to develop overnight; the higher elevations of the county will already be seeing some showers. Winds will pick up tomorrow night and we could see gusts into the low 20 mph range still from the south.  Saturday will see a continued chance for showers off and on.  Temperatures will be in the upper 50s.  Showers should stop by the time we get to Sunday but skies will remain cloudy. Temperatures in the upper elevations will be around 10-15 degrees cooler throughout this entire period with some rain mixed with snow at the ski resort.

The Nooksack River continues to flow slow and steady. There is a chance the river could rise next week around Tuesday or Wednesday from some rain and snowmelt although it will barely be noticed.

Coastal Weather for Lummi Nation, Birch Bay, Lummi Island, Strait of Georgia, Pt. Roberts, Bellingham, and Blaine 

For Coastal Whatcom County, winds from the south in the 5-15 knot range will lead to wind waves  of two feet or less in height.  The southerly winds will continue into tomorrow night still in the 5-15 knot range.  Saturday will see an increase in the wind speed from 5-15 knots to 10-20 knots and then 20-30 knots by evening.  Wind waves will increase from one to three feet to three to five feet.  There is a strong likelihood a “Small Craft Advisory” will be issued for the stronger winds so keep an eye out for that. Expect winds to drop back to less than 10 knots from the southwest with wind waves of one foot or less going into Sunday.

High tide at Cherry Point will be 8.3’ at 6:32 pm tonight. On Friday, expect high tides of 9.4’ at 7:09am and 8.4’ at 7:34 pm. Saturday’s high tides will be 9.3’ at 7:38 am and 8.3’ at 8:37 pm.

 Emergency Preparedness

Temperatures rising and falling through the freezing level will cause ice or snow to melt followed by freezing when the temperatures drop.  The frozen water can be difficult to spot until you begin to slide.  Likewise, frost can form in open areas and on bridges, overpasses and on/off ramps to the interstate as well as sides of the road.  These are hazardous conditions that can catch you off guard and affect your ability to control your vehicle.  Be especially careful as the sun drops below the horizon at night and during the day rounding curves where mountains or trees have blocked the sun from evaporating any frost or frozen water on the road. 

Put your winter survival kit in your car.  Include extra blankets, flashlight, extra batteries, food, and water as a minimum.  See “Winter driving-Emergency Car Kit” on the Washington State Department of Transportation website.

Make sure your gas tank is at least half-full during winter months.  If you become stranded and run your vehicle to keep warm, make sure the exhaust is clear of obstacles including snow, and open the window slightly to keep carbon monoxide from building up inside your vehicle.

If you’re headed to the ski area or backcountry make sure you’re aware of tree well and deep snow dangers along with the current avalanche conditions.  They can change rapidly.

Remember, think safety and be prepared!  This hotline will not be updated over the weekend unless an incident occurs.  

Contact: Wallace Kost, 360.778.7165, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management