-Burn Ban Lifted! WHATCOM COUNTY FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE: " Due to the increase in fuel moisture levels and recent rain, the Fire Marshal’s Office will lift the burn ban for outdoor burning. The burn ban will be lifted at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022 for the unincorporated areas of Whatcom County. At that time, verbal burn permits will be available via the Outdoor Burning Information Line. Written burn permits for fires larger than 4’ X 4’ will be available at the Planning & Development Services Office located at 5280 Northwest Dr. All outdoor burning requires a permit, except for legal recreational fires.
If your property is located within WCFD 5 – Pt. Roberts, WCFD 11 – Lummi Island, or WCFD 17 – Sandy Point, you MUST contact those fire districts to find out if outdoor burning restrictions have been lifted for those areas.
A permanent ban on open burning remains in effect for the cities and Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) of Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale, Blaine, Everson, Nooksack, Sumas, Birch Bay, Columbia Valley, and Cherry Point. For more information on the permanent burn ban you may contact the Northwest Clean Air Agency at (360) 428-1617 or check their website at https://nwcleanairwa.gov/
ADVISORIES, WATCHES AND WARNINGS:
.- SR-20 (North Cascade Highway). Several single lane closures are in effect for this week. Flaggers or temporary signals will be used to control traffic. Check the WSDOT website for updates on closure status - https://wsdot.com/travel/real-time/alerts/road/020
Inland Whatcom County Weather
There is a chance for a shower or two around the county but that is sporadic and there is partly sunny skies along the coast at the moment. Temperatures are going to remain on the cool side with 50 or there about being the high end. Winds will be light for the most part but Pt Roberts and Sumas could see some northwest/northeast gusts to 20 mph or so. A slight chance of showers will continue into this evening. Temperatures will drop into the 30s with Maple Falls and Newhalem seeing the coldest temperatures- around 30. Don't be surprised to see some rain/snow mixtures in the higher elevations. Tomorrow will be partly cloudy so we should see some sun. Temperatures will continue to remain cool in Newhalem with the highs topping out in the 30s once again. The wind sill continue in Pt Roberts. Tomorrow night we'll see increasing clouds with temperatures in the Maple Falls area around 30 and Newhalem will see upper 20s for the lows. Look for the snow level to rise and fall over the next several days. Anything over 900' has a chance for rain/snow mixtures and all snow a little higher during the evening rising to 2500' or above during the day. The ski resort area will see periods of rain/snow mixtures. Once we get to Thursday, we'll see another weather system move into the area bringing some heavy precipitation to the area. Mt Baker Ski resort stands to see 12" or more from the next system.
Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams
The Nooksack River, and its' forks are dropping in river level and will continue to do so slowly over the next couple of days. The next weather system will drop enough precipitation to cause the river to rise again as we head into the weekend. At this time, there is no concern about river flooding but as with any weather system, conditions could cause it to strengthen or weaken. Checking on the forecast before going out puts you in a better position to make informed decisions about travel plans. For a look at the future river levels, use the Public Works website to check the river levels - https://www.whatcomcounty.us/666/Forecasts-Current-River-Conditions; it is tied into the NOAAs Northwest River Forecast Center. All of the cautions and warnings about not driving through water flowing over roads and having alternate routes to get to and from your destination apply. River levels can change quickly, so don't put yourself in a position where you become stranded.
Plugged or clogged drains and culverts can cause local urban flooding, especially in low areas. Clean leaves away from grates so water can flow freely. This will help prevent such localized water backups. Also, in rural areas, if you have a culvert that is plugged on your property, take the time to remove branches or other debris so water can flow freely. All of this helps in moving the water out of the areas as quickly as possible which in turn, helps avoid or reduce flooding. Thank you.
Whatcom County Coastal
Onshore flow will ease today and briefly turn light offshore tonight and on Wednesday. Southerly flow will increase on Thursday as a front approaches. This vigorous frontal system will move through the area Thursday night and Friday. A period of moderate to strong onshore flow will follow the front later Friday into Saturday. WINDS: TODAY E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. A slight chance of showers. TONIGHT N wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt after midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. A chance of showers. WED NE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming N 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. A slight chance of showers in the morning. WED NIGHT N wind 15 to 25 kt becoming NE after midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. THU SE wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less.
There are several periods over the next few days where winds will climb into the "Small Craft Advisory" range. Monitor marine weather for the latest information or changes.
Tide Information (Cherry Point)
Emergency Management Tips and Reminders
Fall Cleanup and Maintenance for Your Car
Fall weather is here along with the changes that come with it. Here are a few things to accomplish as we transition to the unsettled weather:
-Inspect your car battery. Check the connections to make sure they are snug and tight. If there is a lot of corrosion around the post, have them cleaned so connections remain solid. Cold cranking amps are important as the days get colder. Check with your service provider to make sure your battery is up to the task; there's nothing worse than the fading cranking power of our battery on a cold day.
-Check your headlights to make sure they are not glazed or clouded over. With time, oxidation creates a film that results in a dimmer and more restricted illumination field. Having someone clean them or cleaning them yourself will make a dramatic improvement.
-Tires are extremely important for several reasons. Remaining tread provides traction as well as channeling water away from the place where the tire contacts the road. Reduction in tread enables water to build under the tire leading to hydroplaning and loss of control. Tread helps ensure better traction in snow.
-Streaks on your windshield or the inability of the wipers to make solid contact with the windshield is a sure indicator your visibility is probably being limited as well. If you're experiencing this, it's time to get new wipers. You can install them yourself, or in some cases depending on where you purchase them, attendants will install them for you.
-Car repair in general. if your vehicle is demonstrating abnormal issues (e.g. difficult starting, unknown noises, blower fans not working or squeaking/rattling, etc.), have them looked at as soon as you can as you will soon need the defrost function in your car and other issues are unlikely to get better on their own.
Several inquiries have been made to this office regarding sand and sandbags. Whatcom County does not provide either prior to a proclamation of emergency which is issued when flood conditions are clearly defined. In addition, the number of bags the county has is limited and obtaining sand or additional sandbags in the midst of a flood fight may be impossible or delayed, at the very least. The number of locations where these items are placed is also limited. If you are concerned about the need for sand or sandbags, now is the time for you to purchase these items through local vendors or order the sandbags online. Sand can be obtained through local landscaping or sand and gravel companies. In addition to sand and sandbags, some responders use plastic layered with sandbags to provide a protective barrier. There are a number of short you tube videos explaining a variety of sandbag protective methods. Whattcom County Public Works also has developed a list of vendors who have sand and sandbags for sale. See: https://whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/70454/UPDATED-Public-Sand-Sandbag-Availability-2022-2023
While we have been extremely fortunate concerning the risk for wildfire to date, things could change rapidly with dry, hot weather. Now is the time to inventory your home environment to see what wildfire risks you can mitigate against. To that extent, the following information was taken from the National Fire Protection Agency on wildfire preparedness. Additional information about the wildfires and the Firewise program can be found at the NFPA website: https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Preparing-homes-for-wildfire
1. HOME IGNITION ZONES: To increase your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire, choose fire-resistant building materials and limit the amount of flammable vegetation in the three home ignition zones. The zones include the Immediate Zone: (0 to 5 feet around the house), the Intermediate Zone (5 to 30 feet), and the Extended Zone (30 to 100 feet).
2. LANDSCAPING AND MAINTENANCE: To reduce ember ignitions and fire spread, trim branches that overhang the home, porch, and deck and prune branches of large trees up to 6 to 10 feet (depending on their height) from the ground. Remove plants containing resins, oils, and waxes. Use crushed stone or gravel instead of flammable mulches in the Immediate Zone (0 to 5 feet around the house). Keep your landscape in good condition.
3. ROOFING AND VENTS: Class A fire-rated roofing products, such as composite shingles, metal, concrete, and clay tiles, offer the best protection. Inspect shingles or roof tiles and replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration. Box in eaves, but provide ventilation to prevent condensation and mildew. Roof and attic vents should be screened to prevent ember entry.
4. DECKS AND PORCHES: Never store flammable materials underneath decks or porches. Remove dead vegetation and debris from under decks and porches and between deck board joints.
5. SIDING AND WINDOWS: Embers can collect in small nooks and crannies and ignite combustible materials; radiant heat from flames can crack windows. Use fire-resistant siding such as brick, fibercement, plaster, or stucco, and use dual-pane tempered glass windows.
6. EMERGENCY RESPONDER ACCESS: Ensure your home and neighborhood have legible and clearly marked street names and numbers. Driveways should be at least 12 feet wide with a vertical clearance of 15 feet for emergency vehicle access.
7. FINAL THOUGHTS:
Information concerning face coverings and other protective actions can be found on the Whatcom County Health Department Website.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.