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.
The U.S. and Canada have extended an order closing their shared border to nonessential traffic until at least February 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
A “Winter Storm Warning” remains in effect until 10:00pm this evening for heavy snow above 2000 feet. Total snow accumulations of 12 to 24 inches with 18 to 24 inches in the passes possible.
A “Small Craft Advisory remains in effect until 10:00pm tonight for west winds 15-25-knots. Environment Canada is calling for 20-30 knots northwest winds late this afternoon.
Highway 20 is closed eastbound at Newhalem due to a snow slide between Newhalem and Diablo. Washington State Department of Transportation is evaluating the situation this morning and may have the road open later today. Check with WSDOT before attempting to travel beyond Newhalem.
Whatcom County Inland Weather
Weather around the county will be a little bit of a mixed bag. We have the chance for a shower or two in the lower areas of the county today while snow is continuing in the upper elevations. The Winter Storm Warning continues until 10:00pm this evening. Temperatures in the lower areas of the county will range between low to mid-40s for highs and around 30 or slightly lower tonight due to clear or clearing skies. Frost or ice could form on the roads, so drive cautiously. The wind in Point Roberts and Blaine will gust from the west/northwest near 25mph. Tomorrow, temperatures will be about the same as today but clouds will increase and the chance for precipitation increases as the next storm front arrive. This storm system will bring significant southeast winds and places like Point Roberts could see gusts to 40 mph coming off the open water. Interior parts of the county will be spared from the strongest winds but Sumas should expect southwest wind gusts to 30 mph on Thursday. Areas near Maple Falls should be prepared for rain/snow mixtures Wednesday night through Friday night with little to now accumulation. And, if you’re in the Newhalem area, the National Weather Service is predicting three to six inches of snow every twelve-hour period is predicted from Wednesday night through Friday night (this may change when the weather system arrives). Expect travel to be affected in some manner due to snow. Higher elevations will also be 5-10 degrees colder than lower areas of the county.
All forks of the Nooksack River are now dropping steadily and will continue to do so. We’ll see a little burp on Saturday and Sunday from the rain beginning Wednesday night but it will be negligible as far as any impacts.
For the Strait and Inland Coastal Waters off Whatcom County west winds 15-25 knots continue today with wind waves of 2-4 feet/ Tomorrow, winds will be form the east switching to the southeast and be less than 20 knots; wind waves will be two feet of less. Wednesday night will be a concern as southeast winds will increase to 30-40 knots after midnight and wind waves will rise to 5-7 feet. These are gale force winds, so watch for a gale watch and then warning for this period. Thursday winds will drop back to 20-30 knots from the southwest which are still “Small Craft Advisory” level 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.