Incident Hotline

-Incident Hotline - Thursday, January 16, 2020       CHECK OUT OUR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT BLOG!

Asterisk (**) denotes added or changed item(s)

There are no active incidents at this time.

Advisories, Watches and Warnings:

A “Small Craft Advisory” is in effect until 4:00pm this afternoon for winds from the south at 25-35 knots. 

A “Coastal Flooding Advisory” is in effect until 2:00 pm this afternoon.  Minor Coast Flooding is expected as the King Tide, coupled with strong wind and low pressure combine. 

Whatcom County Weather

Over the next several days we will see temperatures rising into the 40s which is a welcome event. Lows at night however, will be near the freezing mark or below at higher elevations which presents some driving concerns with frost or ice forming on roads and bridges or standing water on the roads becoming ice. Also, we will also see some wind with gusts from time to time into the mid to upper 20 mph range or even a little higher especially from Sumas southwest towards Bellingham. A chance for precipitation will be with us in the form of snow flurries, rain, rain/snow mixtures or snow in the upper elevations. The elevation you are at will determine what is falling and in places like Bellingham where there are many elevation changes, you could see all three.

The Nooksack River level continues to drop thanks to snow instead of rain along with cooler temperatures.  We  may see a little rise in the level toward the end of this week and into early next week but river levels remain well within the river banks.

Coastal Weather for Lummi Nation, Birch Bay, Lummi Island, Strait of Georgia, Pt. Roberts, Bellingham, and Blaine 

For the Inland Coastal Waters including those of Whatcom County, winds today will be from the southeast at 15-25 knots causing two to four foot wind waves. Environment Canada has issued a “Gale Warning” for the Strait of Strait of Georgia south of Nanaimo. Tomorrow night we will see winds rise to 30-40 knots as well which would cause five to seven foot wind waves. Monitor marine weather for changes to advisories, watches, or warnings which could impact your open water activities.

We are in a period of King Tides again. Strong winds, coupled with the tide could create some tidal overflow as we could see today in Birch Bay Drive particularly along Terrell Creek, Point Roberts, and Semiahmoo Spit.  Tides at Cherry Point for the next couple of days looks like this:

Cherry Point Tides
January 16, 2020
0958
10.22

January 16, 2020
1644

3.47
January 16, 2020
2158
6.14

January 17, 2020
0329

2.72
January 17, 2020
1033
10.01

January 17, 2020
1744

2.19

Emergency Preparedness

1.  Your "Winter Safety Kit" should already be in your vehicle; see the Washington State Department of Transportation website for a list of items to put in your kit.  Also, get in the habit or removing as much snow as possible from your vehicle before driving.  Snow blowing over the exterior of your windshield while driving can cause the inside to fog up.  And, leaving your rear or side windows covered or partially clear places you and others at risk as well.  

2.  Watch for ice on the roadways especially where the temperature drops below the freezing level. And don’t forget, shaded caused by overhanging trees, mountains, or even buildings can shield the sun from thawing the frost and you could go from a dry area to patches of frost which could cause a loss of traction or vehicle control. Elevation will also make a difference as to where the freezing level is so keep alert.

3.  Watch for packed snow or patches of packed snow if you are headed to the ski area or crossing the Cascades over the next couple of days. Slush or snow can build under your vehicle tires can cause your vehicle to ride on top of an unstable surface and can lead to loss of traction and vehicle control.  And even if you’re not headed to the ski area, there are enough hilly roads in Whatcom County where you could travel high enough to reach rain/snow mixtures or all snow conditions.  Just because the weather service calls for snow above a certain elevation does not mean it can’t snow below that elevation.  A degree or two can make a large difference in the type and amount of snow falling.

4.  Keep an eye on the avalanche notifications and tree well warnings. You can find information about both on the Mount Baker Ski Area Website Home Page.  Currently the avalanche danger is "Considerable" which  means there are dangerous conditions.  See the Avalanche Center website for additional information.

5.  Don’t drive through water flowing over roads. It only take three to six inches of fast moving water to knock you off your feet and another few inches to move vehicles as large as SUVs.  Low areas flood easily and even though water may not be flowing, the water could cause your vehicle to stall leaving you stranded.

6.  With the ground saturated, the chances for landslides have also increased.  Be aware of your surroundings and leave the area at the first indication of terrain instability.

Remember, think safety and be prepared!  This hotline is not updated on weekends or holidays unless an incident occurs.

Contact: Wallace Kost, 360.778.7165, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management