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 “Small Craft Advisory” will go into effect this evening at 6:00pm and remain in effect until 1:00 pm tomorrow afternoon for southeast winds 15-30 knots.
Weather Around Whatcom County
This week’s weather will be just the opposite of last week. Where we were sunny and dry it will be cloudy and wet with some wind thrown in this evening with the passing weather system. Temperatures will still climb to around 50 degrees today and tomorrow with lows in the low to mid-40s. Tonight we will see southerly winds with gusts near 30 mph along the coast especially near Bellingham. Most of the rain will fall between 10:00am this morning and 4:00pm this afternoon with a short break before heavier rain moves in later this evening. Higher elevations could see two inches of rain or a little more in some localized areas.
It should come as no surprise that two or more inches of rain will cause the Nooksack River and small streams to rise over the next couple of days. And while there is no prediction of flooding, actual conditions can change the situation quickly. Always be on guard and find an alternate route if you encounter water flowing over the road.
For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County southeast wind at 10 knots will increase to 15-25 knots tonight with wind waves of two to four feet. Those winds will drop tomorrow to around 10 knots and switch to the west.
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.