Incident Hotline

-Incident Hotline - Friday, January 24, 2020      CHECK OUT OUR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT BLOG!

Asterisk (**) and Bolded items denote added or changed entries

There are no active incidents at this time and for your awareness Mount Baker Highway is back open after being closed Thursday.

Advisories, Watches and Warnings:

Currently, a “Small Craft Advisory” is in effect until 4:00 pm this afternoon for southerly winds at 15-25 knots. 

A “Small Craft Advisory” will go into effect at midnight and last until 11:00am tomorrow morning. 

The Northwest Avalanche Center continues to show a “High Avalanche Danger” for the North Cascades-see their website for additional information. 

A Special Weather Statement has been issued for an increased threat of landslides due to saturated soil and heavy rainfall that has fallen on the area.

Whatcom County Weather

Showers and breezy conditions should be expected today with temperatures reaching into the mid to upper 40s for most areas except the ski area and southeast towards NewHalem where low 40s or upper 30s will be encountered. Winds will be from the south or southeast with gusts anywhere from 25-30 mph. The foothills may block some of the wind tomorrow but some areas will still see gusts to 25 mph. Rain or a chance of rain will continue through the weekend with temperatures remaining in the 40s for the foothills and west and above the freezing level except for higher elevations. It is impossible to predict exact locations where temperatures drop below freezing and frost or ice forms on the roads so if you are planning a trip into the higher elevations be extra careful.

The Nooksack River continues to rise slowly over the next 12-24 hours and is no longer predicted to get above flood stage. However, the lowest areas along the river could still see water reach the road shoulders and lowlands will see water pooling in the fields. Stay alert and cautious when driving especially after dark when it is harder to determine water levels.

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, southeast winds of 15-25 knots with wind waves of two to four feet will continue today, drop off a little after 4:00pm and then push back up to15-25 knots after midnight. Sunday will also see winds in the 15-25 knot range or a little stronger so another “Small Craft Advisory” is likely to be issued for that period.

Tides at Cherry Point for the next couple of days looks like this:

Cherry Point Tides
January 24, 2020
1144

7.13
January 24, 2020
1527
8.10

January 24, 2020
2305

-1.33
January 25, 2020
0700
10.21

January 25, 2020
1226

6.80
January 25, 2020
1614
7.86

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