Incident Hotline

Incident Hotline - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Advisories, Watches and Warnings:

A “Small Craft Advisory” will go into effect at 6:00 pm tonight and remain in effect until 5:00 am tomorrow morning for winds15-25 knots which will cause 2'-4' wind waves.

Also, the Northwest Avalanche Center has extended their statement concerning a “Considerable Avalanche Danger” for the west Cascade Mountains, including Mount Baker which is in effect through tonight. Careful snowpack evaluation and conservative decision-making are warranted.

.  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

Most of the county will see partly sunny skies today.  The ski resort and NewHalem will see a chance of rain develop as the day progresses.  Temperatures for the lower areas of the county will be around the 60 degree mark with some wind out of the north/northeast.  The winds will pick up this evening out of the south/southwest as a front moves into the area bringing with it a chance of rain for the entire county. We could see South/Southwest wind gusts to 29 mph in the Bellingham area and 25 mph in the Sumas area.  Other areas of the county will see wind, but not quite that strong.  Temperatures tonight will drop to the low to mid 40s with the exception of the ski resort where there mid 30 degree temperatures should be expected.  Tomorrow we will see a chance of showers throughout the county with a rain/snow mixture at the ski area.  Sunday we should be back to partly cloudy skies with the sun shining through off and on. Temperatures will again climb into the upper 50s for the whole county except for the ski area.  The next chance for rain or rain showers will come on Monday night and continue through Wednesday.

The Nooksack River continues to flow slow and steady.  We won’t see much change except for a little increase Tuesday going into Wednesday due to the rain and rain showers but it will be very minor.

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

For Coastal Whatcom County, southeast winds will increase from 5-15 to 10-20 knots over the course of the day.  Tonight winds will be from the south 15-25 knots which is the reason for the “Small Craft Advisory.”  Wind waves will increase to 2'-4’.  Tomorrow winds will drop back to 5-15 knots and then switch to the northwest at 10 knots by tomorrow night.  Wind waves will drop back to two feet or less.  On Sunday, south winds at 10 knots will  creat e wind waves of one foot or less and by the end of the day switch to the north at 5-15 knots and waves of two feet or less

High tide at Cherry Point this evening will be 8.4’ at 7:34 pm. Saturday’s high tides will be 9.3’ at 7:38 am and 8.3’ at 8:37 pm. On Sunday, high tides will be 9.0’ at 8:07sm and 8.2’ at 9:43pm.

 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. 

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.  Last year 111” of snow fell on Mount Baker during March and 86” fell in April. The lower areas of the county most likely won’t see the snow but if you’re traveling to higher elevations, you could still run into winter weather conditions. Temperatures can drop rapidly and large amounts of snow and strong winds usually accompany the larger storms.

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, 360.778.7165, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management