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 until at least December 21, 2020. This includes both vehicular and 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.
A “Gale Warning is in effect until 10:00 am this morning. Southwest winds 25-35 knots are expected. Environment Canada has also issued a Gale Warning for the Strait of Georgia South of Nanaimo.
A “wind advisory” expired at 9:00am this morning for south winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 45 mph. Gusty winds may persist for a number of hours yet though not as strong.
Today will see rain gradually drop off and some partly cloudy skies will develop around the county. Winds will be gusty from the south/southwest with some gusts reaching up to 44mph, especially in the Blaine area. Temperatures will climb into the mid40s today and then drop down to the lower 30s tonight. There will likely be some areas of frost in protected areas or higher elevations. Tomorrow we will see more sun and winds will be on the lighter side with all areas around 10mph. Temperatures will once again climb into the mid to upper 40s before dropping back into the mid 30s or so at night. The remainder of the work week looks about the same-some sun, some clouds, lighter winds and temperature in the mid to upper 40s in the daytime and low to mid-30s at night.
There are no river level issues associated with the Nooksack although you may see the level come up a little bit due to the rain today. Then the level will gradually drop over the week. Small streams because of their location could see more pronounced changes due to heavier rain in localized areas. Stay alert for those situations and, if you see water running over the road, turn around and find another route.
For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County, the Gale Warning will end at 10:00am but winds will still be from the southwest at 20-30 knots. Although the weather service has not issued a “Small Craft Advisory” yet, those wind velocities fall into that category so be listening for that sometime soon. Winds will shift to the northwest this evening and then shift once again to the west at 5-15 knots. Tomorrow winds will be from the northeast at 10 knots.
Everyone in Washington State 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.
A King Tide is a non-scientific term people often use to describe exceptionally high tides. Tides are long-period waves that roll around the planet as the ocean is "pulled" back and forth by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun as these bodies interact with the Earth in their monthly and yearly orbits. Higher than normal tides typically occur during a new or full moon and when the Moon is at its perigee, or during specific seasons around the country.
In Whatcom County we pay particular attention to King Tides that occur in the late fall / early winter as many times these coincide with, and can be aggravated by, our wind storms. This has resulted in significant impacts in our coastal communities, such as occurred in Birch Bay and Blaine in December of 2018 when over 5 million dollars in damage was caused by a King Tide and wind storm. We define a King Tide as a tide of at least 10.1 at Cherry Point (Whatcom Counties official tide station). Over the next couple months, we will have King Tides on the following days:
December 14, 2020
December 15, 2020
December 16, 2020
December 17, 2020
December 18, 2020
December 19, 2020
December 30, 2020
December 31, 2020
January 01, 2021
January 02, 2021
January 03, 2021
January 04 & 05, 2021
0951 / 1021
January 12, 2021
January 13 & 14, 2021
0645 / 0722
January 15, 2020
January 16, 2021
January 29-February 01, 2021
0706 / 0733 / 0800 / 0827
For those who are tide watchers, these are pretty impressive tides but as happened in the 2018 storm, the tides were pushed nearly two feet higher from the storm pressure (called storm surge) and then the west wind added another 3-4 feet of waves.
This briefing line is not updated on weekends unless an incident occurs.