-The second atmospheric river of the season is forecasted to bring heavy rains to our region today. At this time, the river is expected to crest slightly above flood stage at Acme with all other forecast points remaining below flood stage. SR-9 may be impacted by Acme if the forecast holds true. You can check the most current weather forecasts and projected Nooksack River levels on our website at www.whatcomcounty.us/floodforecast.
ADVISORIES, WATCHES AND WARNINGS:
- A GALE WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 3 PM PDT THIS AFTERNOON for south winds 25 to 35 knots. The area affected includes the Northern Inland Waters Including The San Juan Islands.
- A WIND ADVISORY IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM PDT THIS MORNING for south winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph expected. The area affected includes San Juan County, Western Whatcom County and Western Skagit County.
-A FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON. Flooding caused by excessive rainfall continues to be possible. The area affected includes: Portions of northwest Washington and west central Washington, including the following counties, in northwest Washington, Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Skagit and Whatcom. In west central Washington, King, Lewis, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston.
.- 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
-Environment Canada has issued a "Gale Warning" for the Strait of Georgia-South of Nanaimo. Wind southeast 15-25 knots backing to easterly 15-20 knots this morning then diminishing to easterly 5-15 knots near noon. Wind increasing to northwest 25-35 kinots early this evening then diminishing to northwest 15-25 knots near midnight. Wind diminishing to nortwesterly 10-15 knots overnight then increasing to southeast 20-30 knots Saturday evening.
Inland Whatcom County Weather
Rain, heavy at times will continue throughout the day and into the evening. Rain amounts vary but accumulations could range from an inch or so in the lower areas of the county today to a couple of inches in the foothills and higher. Wind will accompany the rain and we could see gusts from the south/southwest to 45 mph or so. This evening rain will taper off but the chance for some showers and possibly a thunderstorm or two will develop which could produce a local downpour. Otherwise, rain amounts are expected to be lighter-in the neighborhood of 1/10 of an inch or a little more. The chance for showers or rain from time to time will continue through the weekend. We'll also see the chances for rain/snow mixtures increase over the next several days. Maple Falls and the foothill areas are likely to begin seeing some rain/snow mixtures perhaps tomorrow as the snow level rises and falls. The NWS is calling for the snow level to drop to the 900' level Sunday before rising to 1400' and above; Sunday evening may drop as low as 600'. Temperatures will still reach the 50s in the lowlands today but that will change tomorrow and we will see a downward trend leading to highs in the 30s and low 40s by Monday. Low temperatures will drop into the 20s and teens in the foothills and higher. Some breezy conditions will continue throughout the weekend as well. Winds will not reach 40 mph but there will be several times where gusts could reach the 30mph level.
For the Mt Baker Ski Resort, rain is expected today switching over to rain/snow tonight and then it appears all snow after that. Rainfall amounts could be around 2 inches. Snowfall looks to be somewhere between 2-4" for Saturday night, Sunday and Sunday night.
Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams
We're beginning to see the South Fork of the Nooksack River rise which is expected due to the rain overnight. This will continue throughout the day with the middle and north forks following suit. By late tonight, or early tomorrow morning, we could see SR-9 impacted by Acme. WSDOT will be watching the river and its impact on SR-9 closely. The other gauges at Cedarville and Ferndale do not have the river reaching any flood level at this time, though the levels are high enough that a few roads may be affected. Whatcom Public Works "Road Closures" is a great site to look at for any impacts. Small stream flooding impacts are a little harder to gauge as lots of grass and branches could slow or clog the flow. If you do live in an area prone to water on roadways or flooding, have a backup travel route to get to/from your destination. 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
A vigorous frontal system will move through the area today. Strong post frontal onshore flow will follow tonight. Onshore flow will ease over the weekend and will transition to offshore early next week. WINDS: TODAY S wind 25 to 35 kt. Wind waves to 4 to 6 ft. Rain. TONIGHT W wind 25 to 35 kt. Wind waves 4 to 6 ft. A chance of rain in the evening then a slight chance of rain after midnight. SAT W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. A chance of rain in the morning then rain likely in the afternoon. SAT NIGHT SW wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SE 20 to 30 kt after midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft building to 3 to 5 ft. SUN SE wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. SUN NIGHT NE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. MON NE wind 20 to 30 kt. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft.
There are several periods over the next few days where winds will climb into the "Small Craft Advisory and Gale Wind" ranges. 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.