Incident Hotline

Incident Hotline - Friday, February 22, 2019  

Advisories, Watches and Warnings:

The Emergency proclamation for the State of Washington signed by Governor Inslee caused by the winter storms a couple of weeks ago is continuously being reviewed and amended as conditions unfold.  The latest amendment to the proclamation (19-07) extends the current exemption from application of the driver hours of service rules for delivering bulk propane fuel supplies to midnight on February 26, 2019. The entire amendment can be found at the following URL: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/19-07_Proclamation.pdf.  The proclamation of emergency for Whatcom County is being reviewed for closure.

A “Small Craft Advisory” continues in effect until 6:00pm this evening for winds 15-30 knots. 

There is a Winter Weather Advisory for the Cascades through Saturday morning for snow accumulations of 4-11”; this includes the Mount Baker Ski Area.

The Northwest Avalanche Center continues to rate the Cascades as “Considerable Avalanche Danger through 11:59pm today.  The additional snow will likely cause this to be extended into tomorrow.

.  Birch Bay Drive Remains Impacted:

  1. Birch Bay Drive north of Harborview has a suffered significant damage. Whatcom County Public Works has opened one lane northbound only between Harborview and Shintaffer with a 10 miles per hour speed limit. Southbound traffic from Birch Bay Village and Birch Point must use Shintaffer to Lincoln / Anderson roads for ingress and egress. Persons driving South from Shintaffer to Harborview may be subject to citation and a fine. There is no date for repairs to Birch Bay Drive .
  2. Birch Bay Drive south of Harborview - Whatcom County Public Works has opened Birch Bay Drive south of Harborview, both north and south, however the shoulders remain closed due to damage and debris. Pedestrians and bicyclists should use caution in this area until cleanup is complete.

Whatcom County Weather

There is more moisture on the way and it will be sliding into the area from the north. By the time it reaches the Whatcom County we are expecting it to be mostly rain with some snow mixed in from time to time. Temperatures are projected to reach 43 and 42 in Bellingham and Blaine respectively. Moving east towards Sumas, the temperature will be a few degrees cooler and while the National Weather Service is calling for a rain/snow mixture in Sumas, Environment Canada has a snowfall warning for Abbotsford of 5-10 cm or (2-4 inches) of snow. The higher elevations of Whatcom County including the Mount Baker Ski Area received 4 inches of snow overnight and could see another 4-11 inches of snow before tomorrow morning. Winds today will be out of the south reaching 20-25 mph with gusts to 30mph or a little stronger. Tonight’s winds will decrease to 10-13 mph from the southeast. Low temperatures tonight along the coast will be between 32 and 34 degrees. Sumas and Maple Falls will see temperatures in the mid 20s. NewHalem has the chance to see snow showers for the next five days although the accumulation during today could reach 3-7 inches. Once we get into Sunday we will see some sun but the wind will still be with us from the northeast. Temperatures will get near 40 degrees for highs and drop down to around 30 or a little colder for lows.

Rivers are running steady but well within their banks. So far, the melting has been slow and steady and not led to any spikes or dramatic changes.

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

For Coastal Whatcom County, the small craft advisory remains in effect until 6:00pm today.  However, over the next three days, the winds pickup to the 15-25 knot range or a little higher so small craft advisories are likely each day.  Wind waves in the 15-25 knot range run between 2-4 feet and 3-5 feet when we reach 30 knots.

High tide tomorrow morning at Cherry Point is projected to hit 9.77’ at 8:05 am and then get a little lower each day.

 Emergency Preparedness

Temperatures rising and falling through the freezing level will cause ice or snow to melt followed by freezing when the temperatures drop.  The frozen water can be difficult to spot until you begin to slide.  Likewise, frost can form in open areas and on bridges, overpasses and on/off ramps to the interstate as well as sides of the road.  These are hazardous conditions that can catch you off guard and affect your ability to control your vehicle.  Be especially careful as the sun drops below the horizon at night and during the day rounding curves where mountains or trees have blocked the sun from evaporating any frost or frozen water on the road. 

If you are aware of a storm drain near your home or business, especially in the cities, that is covered with snow and are able to clear the snow off, doing so will help water drain off the roads instead of pooling.

Wind chills over the next couple of days will be near zero. 

Put your winter survival kit in your car.  Include extra blankets, flashlight, extra batteries, food, and water as a minimum.  See “Winter driving-Emergency Car Kit” on the Washington State Department of Transportation website.

Make sure your gas tank is at least half-full during winter months.  If you become stranded and run your vehicle to keep warm, make sure the exhaust is clear of obstacles including snow, and open the window slightly to keep carbon monoxide from building up inside your vehicle.

If you’re headed to the ski area or backcountry make sure you’re aware of tree well and deep snow dangers along with the current avalanche conditions.  They can change rapidly.


Remember, think safety and be prepared!  This hotline will not be updated over the weekend unless an incident occurs.  

Contact: Wallace Kost, 360.788.5305, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management