-Washington State Department of Transportation North Central Region – 2830 Euclid Ave. Wenatchee, WA 98801– 509-667-3000
- North Cascades Highway to remain closed for winter:
ADVISORIES, WATCHES AND WARNINGS:
- None at this time.
Inland Whatcom County Weather:
The start of the workweek brings with it sunny skies and temperatures that will be a little warmer than what we saw last week but still below normal.
Mt Baker Ski Resort: There has been no new snow over the last 24 hours but 3-5 inches of new snow are forecast for tonight. Some of the chair lifts are open but always double-check things before heading up to the mountain. There is a variable snow base advisory listed on the website.
For everyone traveling over the next few days, pack your winter safety kit and communicate your travel plans-departure and arrival times along with planned route of travel. Most of us will see temperatures near 40 degrees along with some wind in the Pt Roberts area where gusts from the east could reach 25 mph. Everyone else will experience lighter winds. Tonight we will see increasing clouds, temperatures that will be a little above or below the freezing level and a chance for some rain/snow mixtures very late or early tomorrow morning. While there won't be any accumulation expected, there is always a chance at the tops of hills or low spots, snow will not melt as expected leaving slush or some light buildup. Always be ready for that. Tomorrow, temperatures will again push the 40 degrees ceiling or go a few degrees higher. The chance for precipitation in the from or rain/snow mixture will continue. The snow level will be around 1000'. Lows tomorrow night will be about the same as tonight and the chance for rain/snow mixtures in places continues while lowland areas may see all rain. Winds will be from the south/southeast. Loking to Wednesday and beyond there is a system that will move into the area and keep the chance for rain, rain/snow, or all snow at higher elevations greater than 50/50.
Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams
No change here. We are not seeing anything on the horizon that is cause for concern at this time concerning river flooding. Snow, instead of rain in the higher elevations means less water draining into the rivers at this time. 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 NOAAs Northwest River Forecast Center. Also on the Public Works website is a list of closed roads caused by flooding when it arises.
Whatcom County Coastal
Weak low pressure will spin off Oregon with generally light offshore winds across western Washington today. Light winds will continue into Tuesday. A frontal system will move through the area Wednesday night and Thursday. Wind: TODAY E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming NE in the afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less. TONIGHT N wind to 10 kt becoming E after midnight. Wind waves 1 ft or less. TUE SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming S 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. A chance of rain. TUE NIGHT S wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. WED SE wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less. Several periods of Small Craft Advisory level winds are forecast over the next several days. Monitor marine weather to ensure you have the most up to date information.
Tide Data (Cherry Point)
*Denotes King Tide
In Whatcom County we pay particular attention to King Tides that occur in the late fall / early winter as many times these coincide with, and can be aggravated by, our wind storms. This has resulted in significant impacts in our coastal communities, such as occurred in Birch Bay and Blaine in December of 2018 when over 5 million dollars in damage was caused by a King Tide and wind storm. We define a King Tide as a tide of at least 10.20 at Cherry Point (Whatcom Counties official tide station).
For those who are tide watchers, these are pretty impressive tides and fun to go see when they happen. However, when a westerly storm is added to a King Tide as happened in the 2018 storm, the tides were pushed nearly two feet higher from the storm pressure (called storm surge) and then the west wind added another 3-4 feet of waves. It is for these reasons that the Whatcom County Sheriff's
Office Division of Emergency Management, along with significant support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, keeps a close eye on King Tides.
Over the next couple months, we will have King Tides on the following days:
For each of these dates, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prepares a customreport for Whatcom County. This report is sent to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office Division of Emergency Management who in turn broadcast it to the Whatcom County Coastal Warning Group, made up of key officials, public safety agencies, and organizations subject to coastal impacts (such as refineries, hotels, community groups and industry). For example, the Forecast for Whatcom County that was sent on January 6, 2022 predicting the potential impacts for January 7, 2022 coastal flooding was distributed to this group (See Forecast for Whatcom County at end of this article.)
Anyone mariner who travels our waters knows that the tides in along every shoreline in Whatcom County are slightly different. For example, on December 16th, the highest King Tide of the year (10.8 feet at 0736) occurs. The 10.8 feet is for the NOAA Cherry Point Tide Station. However, at Gooseberry Point the high tide is 10.3 feet at 0720. In Bellingham it is 9.8 feet at 0722, and in Blaine it is 11.0 feet at 0730. The reasons we see a difference has to do with the shape of the coast, depth of water, height of tide gauge and a host of other factors. However, for our planning and baseline we use Cherry Point.
For more information on King Tides, and to help scientists build a library of coastal impacts, you can visit the Washington King Tides program at the University of Washington.
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
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.