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:
A “Small Craft Advisory” went into effect just after 8:00am this morning and will continue until tomorrow morning at 4:00am. South winds 20-30 knots accompanied by three to five foot wind waves are expected. Environment Canada has issued a Strong Wind Warning for the Strait of Georgia South of Nanaimo for southeast winds 15-25 knots.
Whatcom County Weather
Expect increasing clouds today and a chance for some showers developing after 4:00 pm this afternoon. Rain will not be heavy but it will stick around for the next 24-48 hours. Temperatures have cooled off and we’re going to be stuck in the low 40s for highs and anywhere from the freezing level in the foothills to the mid 30s for other areas. Some areas such as Maple Falls could see a little snow before the snow level rises back about one thousand feet. After tomorrow, we’ll have little break from the moisture through the middle of the week but we will see several weather systems return to the area beginning Thursday sometime. Winds over the next several days will be 15 mph or less but with the lower temperatures it will feel colder.
Rivers and Streams
The Nooksack River level continues to drop and there is nothing on the horizon that appears to change that. However, as the ground becomes more saturated, it’s ability to absorb new moisture diminishes. When we do see a heavy rain event, it won’t take a lot to cause rivers and streams to rise due to runoff. Now is the time to look at what alternate routes are available and how much additional time you will need for your travel to and from your destination.
Coastal Weather for Whatcom County
Look for southeast winds tonight in the 20-30 knot range with three to five foot wind waves. Tomorrow the winds will die down and we should see winds remain under 20 knots. Winds tomorrow will be from the west and switch to the north tomorrow night. As we get towards Thursday and Friday we will see winds increase again due to the weather systems entering our area.
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.