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.
The U.S. and Canada have extended an order closing their shared border to nonessential traffic. The move delays the border’s reopening by another 30 days, until at least November 21, 2020. This includes both vehicular traffic as well as recreational boating between the countries.
The “Proclamation of Emergency” signed by the Whatcom County Executive concerning COVID-19 remains in effect. Information about Whatcom County’s response to COVID-19 is available at the Joint Information Center’s COVID-19 website.
Whatcom County is in Phase 2 of the Washington Safe Start Plan. Highlights of this phase include: social distancing, wearing a mask, and limiting the size of groups are the guidelines of Phase 2. More info about Phase 2 in Whatcom County can be found here, and updates can be found here.
Washington state has implemented a cloth mask mandate requiring the wearing of a mask in public indoors and wherever a social distance of six feet cannot be maintained outdoors. More info can be found here and here.
Advisories, Watches and Warnings:
As predicted, the National Weather Service has issued a “Small Craft Advisory which is already in effect and will continue until 4:00am Saturday morning. Northwest winds 20-30 knots should be expeted causing thee to five fooot wind waves. Environment Canada has issued a Gale Warning for the Strain of Georgia South of Nanaimo for northwest winds 25-35 knots.
Whatcom County Weather
Rain has departed the area and we are in for a mostly sunny day today. It will be a little cooler with highs only getting into the mid-50s. In addition, there will be some wind from the north, especially towards Blaine where gusts could get up to 20 mph. Maple Falls may see some breezy conditions as well. Tonight’s lows will get down in the mid-30s. Tomorrow will be a little cooler still with temperatures barely reaching 50 and it should be mostly sunny. Tomorrow night temperatures will drop to the low 30s and even some upper 20s in the foothills and higher. The winds will not be strong but there could be some gusts up to 20 mph in places.
Rivers and Streams
The Nooksack River has peaked at all reporting points and is dropping. Looking out in the next five to seven days, it doesn’t appear there are any weather systems that will cause flood concerns. However, with the ground becoming more and more saturated, it doesn’t take a lot to cause rivers and streams to rise due to runoff.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
Twenty to thirty knot northwest winds will continue today and into this evening and then decrease to 10-20 knots after midnight. Wind waves of three to five feet will drop back to one to three feet. It looks like Saturday night winds will pick up again leading to at least a small craft advisory and perhaps a gale warning as there is a call for 25-35 knot wind after midnight on Saturday. Monitor marine weather for changing conditions and updated advisory or warning information.
Here are a few emergency management reminders:
COVID-19: Everyone in Washington State, including Whatcom County, is directed to wear a face covering while at any indoor public space and any outdoor public space where you may be within 6 feet of someone who does not live with you. You can find more info about face coverings and other protective actions here and here.
If you haven't put your Winter Emergency kit in your car, now is the time to do so. Having an extra blanket, flashlight, small shovel, food and water are just a few of the items you should consider placing in your kit. The Washington State Department of Transportation has a list of items that you should consider having in your emergency kit.
Check your windshield wipers now and replace them if they are frayed, leave streaks, or not able to remove water from your windshield. Your safety and the safety of others depends on your ability to clearly see the road and other traffic on the road.
Make sure you turn your lights on during time of reduced visibility; this includes dusk, twilight, fog, and rain. The more you make yourself visible, the less chance of an accident.
Do not attempt to drive through water flowing over the road or even water standing on the road. Flowing water can move vehicles in as little as six inches of water and even SUVs cannot escape the force of flowing water. Likewise, driving through standing water while guessing where the road is could result in veering off the road. By going a different route, you may lose ten or fifteen minutes, but you will arrive safe.
Frost on roads and bridges can occur anytime. Colder temperatures at higher elevations can cause frost or black ice to form on roads and bridges. Wind can create wind chills that drop temperatures below freezing.
Scrape the ice and snow from all the windows on your vehicle. And if you have snow on the hood, remove that to. Snow blowing across a warm windshield will cause condensation and restrict your visibility.
This briefing line is not updated on weekends unless an incident occurs.