Good morning. You have reached the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management Daily Briefing; today is Monday, February 3rd and the time is 10:00am.
As floodwaters continue to recede, efforts are underway by numerous municipal and county agencies to determine the impacts from the storm that ended last Saturday. You can help by notifying officials about damage you have observed.
Advisories, Watches and Warnings:
It is nice to say there are no advisories watches or warnings at the moment but there is reason to stay vigilant with another storm system expected to arrive in the area tomorrow. A good rule of thumb would be to replenish your resources to levels that existed before this last storm. The National Weather Service will be providing more insight about this new system over the next 24-48 hours.
Whatcom County Weather.
Today will be mostly sunny with a few rain/snow showers popping up around the county. Highs will be in the low 40s while the lows tonight will drop into the low 30s for the coastal areas and below freezing in the higher elevations. That translates to the possibility of frost or even some ice forming on the roads tonight. Winds will be from the east/northeast in the 15 mph range or lower with a few higher gusts in Blaine. Tonight will also see increasing clouds leading into a rain/snow mixture for tomorrow. Expect winds from the south/southeast to increase to 15-25 mph with gusts to 31mph. Temperatures will be about five degrees cooler than today. Winds continue tomorrow night as does the rain/snow mixture for the lower elevations with all snow in the upper elevations. Precipitation will turn to all rain Wednesday thru Friday with higher elevations seeing heavy rain at times. Snow levels will also be on the rise reaching the 4,000 to 6,000 foot level Wednesday.
The Nooksack River level has dropped below flood level at all reporting locations but the water that spilled over banks and levees continues to create some travel problems. Check the Public Works website for a list of road restrictions or closures. Streams that washed over roads may have damaged them and they need to be inspected for stability. Beginning Wednesday we will likely start to see a rise in the Nooksack and small streams once again. One final point with regards to rivers, streams, and water over the road: "Road Closed" and "Detour" signs are placed for a reason. Do not interpret that to mean anything but what is says. Numerous water rescues occurred last week because those signs were not adhered to.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
Here are a few emergency management reminders:
First, put your Winter Safety Kit in your vehicle if you haven’t done so already. Check the Washington State Department of Transportation website for a list of items to have in your kit.
Second, watch for ice and slush on the roadways especially where the temperature drops below the freezing level. And don’t forget, shaded caused by overhanging trees, mountains, or even buildings can shield the sun from thawing the frost and you could go from a dry area to patches of frost which could cause a loss of traction or vehicle control. Elevation will also make a difference as to where the freezing level is so keep alert.
Third, watch for packed snow or patches of packed snow if you are headed to the ski area or crossing the Cascades over the next couple of days. Slush or snow building up under your vehicle tires can cause your vehicle to ride on top of an unstable surface and can lead to loss of traction and vehicle control.
Fourth, keep an eye on the avalanche notifications and tree well warning. You can find information about both on the Mount Baker Ski Area Website Home Page.
Fifth, don’t drive through water flowing over roads. It only take three to six inches of fast moving water to knock you off your feet and another few inches to move vehicles as large as SUVs.
This briefing line is not updated on weekends unless an incident occurs.