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 “Small Craft Advisory” until midnight for southeast winds 20-30 knots.
The National Weather Service has issued a “Gale Warning” which goes into effect from midnight to 6:00am for southeast winds 25-35knots. Environment Canada has also issued a Gale Warning.
A “Flood Watch” is in effect from 10:00 pm this evening until 10:00pm Wednesday, January 13th due to heavy rainfall beginning this evening.
The National Weather Service has issued a “Special Weather Statement” for increased threat of landslides in Western Washington through Wednesday.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning” from 1:00pm today to 4:00pm tomorrow above 3000’ for 12-24 inches of snow.
Whatcom County Inland Weather
Rain is in the forecast for the entire week along with snow in the upper elevations. Temperatures will be moderate with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the mid 40s today and tomorrow; tomorrow night will see lows around 40 degrees. Temperatures in the Newhalem area will be 5-10 degrees colder. A southerly flow of wind will be with us through tomorrow night, at least. Gusts will be in the mid 20s but tomorrow night, gusts could get near 30mph or a little stronger.
The Nooksack River level will come up over the next couple of days but current forecasts keep it just below flood stage. More rain or rising snow levels can impact the river level so continue to listen to weather radio. The river will come up rather rapidly, so maintain a high level alert so you’re not caught off guard.
For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County winds from the southeast will be with us through tomorrow night. Wind waves will rise to two to four feet during the Small Craft Advisory to four to six feet tonight when we get into the higher winds.
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.