-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:
Environment Canada has issued a "Gale Warning" for the Strait of Georgia-South of Nanaimo. Wind light except east 10 knots near Vancouver this morning. Wind increasing to southeast 15-25 knots Wednesday morning and to southeast 25-35 knots Wednesday.
Inland Whatcom County Weather:
Rain or rain/snow mixtures will occur across the county today. Winds will be from a southerly direction around 10 mph. Temperatures are expected to climb near 40 degrees. Tonight we can expect about the same with the exception temperatures sill drop below freezing in the foothills and higher and near the freezing level in the lower areas. Winds will continue to be on the ligher side tonight as well. Tomorrow will be another rainy day with some rain/snow mixtures early in the day before temperatures warm up to near 40 degrees once again. The snow level will fluctuate between 1100' and 1900'. The wind will begin to pick up tomorrow as the next frontal system reaches us. Pt Roberts will see the higher gusts of up to 24mph from the south increasing to gusts as high as 48 mph tomorrow night. Other areas could see some wind gusts in the 20mph range or a little higher. Lows tomorrow night will be just a degree or two warmer but that still means areas below freezing will exist in the county. Look for breezy conditions to continue into Thursday and temperatures to be about the same. And, the precipitation will continue. One important thing to keep in mind temperatures forecasts and actual temperatures can vary a few degrees either way. Don't assume temperatures won's drop below freezing even if they call for higher temperatures. Slush on roads, frost, or ice are possible with just a degree or two difference.
Mt Baker Ski Resort: Not much snow in the forecast for the ski area today and tomorrow but tomorrow night should see some good accumulations as well as Thursday and Thursday night. Things keep looking better and better for skiers. A number of chairs lifts are open. See the Mt Baker Ski Report at: https://www.mtbaker.us/snow-report/
Nooksack River, Creeks and Small Streams
No change here. The weather system impacting our area over the next couple of days will do little to change the river level. Snow, instead of rain in the higher elevations means less water draining into the rivers at this time and the water that does drain into the system can easily be handled by current river channel. 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
Light offshore flow will turn southerly today as a weak warm front moves over the area. A vigorous frontal system will move through the area Wednesday night and Thursday. A second frontal system will move through the area Friday night and Saturday. Wind:TODAY S wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. A chance of rain. TONIGHT S wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. A chance of rain. WED SE wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft in the afternoon. A chance of rain. WED NIGHT SE wind 20 to 30 kt rising to 25 to 35 kt after midnight. Wind waves 4 to 6 ft. THU S wind 20 to 30 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less in the afternoon. Several periods of either Small Craft Advisory level or Gale 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.