-Burn Ban Lifted! WHATCOM COUNTY FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE: " Due to the increase in fuel moisture levels and recent rain, the Fire Marshal’s Office will lift the burn ban for outdoor burning. The burn ban will be lifted at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022 for the unincorporated areas of Whatcom County. At that time, verbal burn permits will be available via the Outdoor Burning Information Line. Written burn permits for fires larger than 4’ X 4’ will be available at the Planning & Development Services Office located at 5280 Northwest Dr. All outdoor burning requires a permit, except for legal recreational fires.
If your property is located within WCFD 5 – Pt. Roberts, WCFD 11 – Lummi Island, or WCFD 17 – Sandy Point, you MUST contact those fire districts to find out if outdoor burning restrictions have been lifted for those areas.
A permanent ban on open burning remains in effect for the cities and Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) of Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale, Blaine, Everson, Nooksack, Sumas, Birch Bay, Columbia Valley, and Cherry Point. For more information on the permanent burn ban you may contact the Northwest Clean Air Agency at (360) 428-1617 or check their website at https://nwcleanairwa.gov/
ADVISORIES, WATCHES AND WARNINGS:
.- SR-20 (North Cascade Highway). Several single lane closures are in effect for this week. Flaggers or temporary signals will be used to control traffic. Check the WSDOT website for updates on closure status - https://wsdot.com/travel/real-time/alerts/road/020
-Environment Canada has issues a "Strong Wind Warning" for the Strait of Georgia-South of Nanaimo" for winds northwest at 5-15 knots except northwest 15-20 knots near Vancouver Island this morning. Wind becoming light early this evening then increasing to southeast 5-15 knots overnight. Wind increasing to southeast 15-20 knots Thursday morning then becoming southeast 15-25 knots Thursday afternoon.
Inland Whatcom County Weather
The skies around Whatcom County will range from partly cloudy to 50-/50 sun cloud mix towards Newhalem. There could be a shower or two that passes during the day as well. Clouds will dissipate towards evening but will increase again after midnight. Temperatures today will range from around 40 in the foothills and Newhalem to the lower 50s in Bellingham and Pt Roberts. There will be some wind today but generally less than 15 mph. Overnight lows will drop into the upper 20s (Newhalem) and low 30s in Sumas and Maple Falls. There is a chance for frost across the county as low temperatures will be within a degree or two or the freezing mark no matter where you are. Use extra caution. Malple Falls may even see a rain/snow mixture with the snow level initially around 1000' and then rising above 2000' later. Tomorrow brings a new picture as it will be cloudy with a 50/50 chance for rain; that chance will increase throughout the day. Temperatures once again will range from upper 30s in Newhalem to upper 40s and low 50s along the coastal areas. Wind will pickup as well and gusts from the south will reach 29-34mph along the coast and a little lighter in the interior lowlands. Expect the possibility of heavy rain as the day progresses and that will continue into the evening hours. Lows tomorrow night will be much like those tonight. Key concerns will be frost overnight, possible some ice forming where temperatures drop into the 20s, and pooling or puddling on roadways that could cause hydroplaning and loss of vehicle control.
For the Mt Baker Ski Resort area there's a back and forth between rain/snow, all rain, and sometimes all snow right now. Low temperatures are in the mid to upper 20s but forecast highs still reach the upper 30s at times.
Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams
Presently, the river and small streams continue to drop slowly as water drains off the higher elevations. This will continue until Friday when the water from tomorrow's weather system begins to enter the drainage system. While no flooding is forecast, the river will rise rather quickly which could catch some people off guard. These rapid rise and fall scenarios can be expected to continue ceraincly for the remainder of November and possibly into December. Always have a backup plan if on our near the river. For a look at the future river levels, use the Public Works website to check the river levels - https://www.whatcomcounty.us/666/Forecasts-Current-River-Conditions; it is tied into the NOAAs Northwest River Forecast Center. All of the cautions and warnings about not driving through water flowing over roads and having alternate routes to get to and from your destination apply. River levels can change quickly, so don't put yourself in a position where you become stranded.
Plugged or clogged drains and culverts can cause local urban flooding, especially in low areas. Clean leaves away from grates so water can flow freely. This will help prevent such localized water backups. Also, in rural areas, if you have a culvert that is plugged on your property, take the time to remove branches or other debris so water can flow freely. All of this helps in moving the water out of the areas as quickly as possible which in turn, helps avoid or reduce flooding. Thank you.
Whatcom County Coastal
Light flow will persist across the area waters Wednesday, before southerly flow increases on Thursday as a front approaches. This vigorous frontal system will move through the area Thursday night and Friday and will bring a period of moderate to strong onshore flow to the area waters Friday into Saturday in its wake. Offshore flow early next week. WINDS: TODAY E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming N in the afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. A chance of showers in the morning then a slight chance of showers in the afternoon. TONIGHT NW wind to 10 kt becoming E 10 to 20 kt after midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. THU SE wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. A slight chance of rain in the morning then a chance of rain in the afternoon. THU NIGHT SE wind 25 to 35 kt. Wind waves 5 to 7 ft. FRI S wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft.
There are several periods over the next few days where winds will climb into the "Small Craft Advisory and Gale Wind" range. Monitor marine weather for the latest information or changes.
Tide Information (Cherry Point)
Emergency Management Tips and Reminders
Fall Cleanup and Maintenance for Your Car
Fall weather is here along with the changes that come with it. Here are a few things to accomplish as we transition to the unsettled weather:
-Inspect your car battery. Check the connections to make sure they are snug and tight. If there is a lot of corrosion around the post, have them cleaned so connections remain solid. Cold cranking amps are important as the days get colder. Check with your service provider to make sure your battery is up to the task; there's nothing worse than the fading cranking power of our battery on a cold day.
-Check your headlights to make sure they are not glazed or clouded over. With time, oxidation creates a film that results in a dimmer and more restricted illumination field. Having someone clean them or cleaning them yourself will make a dramatic improvement.
-Tires are extremely important for several reasons. Remaining tread provides traction as well as channeling water away from the place where the tire contacts the road. Reduction in tread enables water to build under the tire leading to hydroplaning and loss of control. Tread helps ensure better traction in snow.
-Streaks on your windshield or the inability of the wipers to make solid contact with the windshield is a sure indicator your visibility is probably being limited as well. If you're experiencing this, it's time to get new wipers. You can install them yourself, or in some cases depending on where you purchase them, attendants will install them for you.
-Car repair in general. if your vehicle is demonstrating abnormal issues (e.g. difficult starting, unknown noises, blower fans not working or squeaking/rattling, etc.), have them looked at as soon as you can as you will soon need the defrost function in your car and other issues are unlikely to get better on their own.
Several inquiries have been made to this office regarding sand and sandbags. Whatcom County does not provide either prior to a proclamation of emergency which is issued when flood conditions are clearly defined. In addition, the number of bags the county has is limited and obtaining sand or additional sandbags in the midst of a flood fight may be impossible or delayed, at the very least. The number of locations where these items are placed is also limited. If you are concerned about the need for sand or sandbags, now is the time for you to purchase these items through local vendors or order the sandbags online. Sand can be obtained through local landscaping or sand and gravel companies. In addition to sand and sandbags, some responders use plastic layered with sandbags to provide a protective barrier. There are a number of short you tube videos explaining a variety of sandbag protective methods. Whattcom County Public Works also has developed a list of vendors who have sand and sandbags for sale. See: https://whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/70454/UPDATED-Public-Sand-Sandbag-Availability-2022-2023
While we have been extremely fortunate concerning the risk for wildfire to date, things could change rapidly with dry, hot weather. Now is the time to inventory your home environment to see what wildfire risks you can mitigate against. To that extent, the following information was taken from the National Fire Protection Agency on wildfire preparedness. Additional information about the wildfires and the Firewise program can be found at the NFPA website: https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Preparing-homes-for-wildfire
1. HOME IGNITION ZONES: To increase your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire, choose fire-resistant building materials and limit the amount of flammable vegetation in the three home ignition zones. The zones include the Immediate Zone: (0 to 5 feet around the house), the Intermediate Zone (5 to 30 feet), and the Extended Zone (30 to 100 feet).
2. LANDSCAPING AND MAINTENANCE: To reduce ember ignitions and fire spread, trim branches that overhang the home, porch, and deck and prune branches of large trees up to 6 to 10 feet (depending on their height) from the ground. Remove plants containing resins, oils, and waxes. Use crushed stone or gravel instead of flammable mulches in the Immediate Zone (0 to 5 feet around the house). Keep your landscape in good condition.
3. ROOFING AND VENTS: Class A fire-rated roofing products, such as composite shingles, metal, concrete, and clay tiles, offer the best protection. Inspect shingles or roof tiles and replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration. Box in eaves, but provide ventilation to prevent condensation and mildew. Roof and attic vents should be screened to prevent ember entry.
4. DECKS AND PORCHES: Never store flammable materials underneath decks or porches. Remove dead vegetation and debris from under decks and porches and between deck board joints.
5. SIDING AND WINDOWS: Embers can collect in small nooks and crannies and ignite combustible materials; radiant heat from flames can crack windows. Use fire-resistant siding such as brick, fibercement, plaster, or stucco, and use dual-pane tempered glass windows.
6. EMERGENCY RESPONDER ACCESS: Ensure your home and neighborhood have legible and clearly marked street names and numbers. Driveways should be at least 12 feet wide with a vertical clearance of 15 feet for emergency vehicle access.
7. FINAL THOUGHTS:
Information concerning face coverings and other protective actions can be found on the Whatcom County Health Department Website.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.