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.
Train Derailment Update. Portal Way has been reopened to thru traffic in Custer; however, there may be some work still being completed which requires flaggers to delay traffic from time to time. Incident Number 20-4465 has been assigned to this event.
The U.S. and Canada have extended an order closing their shared border to nonessential traffic until at least January 21, 2021. 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.
Advisories, Watches and Warnings
The National Weather Service has issued a “Gale Warning” effective until 10:00am this morning for southeast winds 25-35 knots.
Whatcom County Inland Weather
Depending on where you are in the county, you will experience showers or rain today. Most of the wind will be in the northwest part of the county where Blaine could see some gusts from the west today near 20mph. Temperatures around the county will be in the mid-40s. Clouds will decrease tonight and lows will drop to the mid to upper 30s. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with temperatures again reaching the mid-40s. Tomorrow night clouds will roll in again as the next weather system reaches our area. Rain will be with us for the next several days at least. Lows will drop to the lower 30s and freezing could occur. Winds will pickup and gusts near 23mph should be expected from the east/northeast.
The Nooksack River level has just about leveled off now and will remain that way until Tuesday and Wednesday when runoff from the weekend and early next week starts to feed into the main channels. No flooding is in the forecast, but you can expect the river to come up a couple of feet or so. This is still below flood stage.
For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County wind from southeast this morning at 25-35 knots will switch to the southwest and drop to 10-20 knots. Wind waves will drop from 4-6 feet to 1-3 feet. Tonight and tomorrow winds will be 15 knots or less switching from the west to the east. Tomorrow night, winds will again pickup to 20-30 knots from the southeast so expect a “Small Craft Advisory” to be issued.
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:
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.