Incident Hotline

Incident Hotline - Wednesday, January 16, 2019  

Advisories and Warning:

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY:   “Small Craft Advisory”  will go into effect this evening from 6:00pm until 4:00pm on Thursday

  Whatcom County Storm Update (From December 20th Storm):

  1. Birch Bay Drive north of Harborview has a suffered significant damage. Whatcom County Public Works has opened one lane northbound only between Harborview and Shintaffer with a 10 miles per hour speed limit. Southbound traffic from Birch Bay Village and Birch Point must use Shintaffer to Lincoln / Anderson roads for ingress and egress. Persons driving South from Shintaffer to Harborview may be subject to citation and a fine as the southbound lane of Birch Bay Drive is closed. There is no date for repairs to Birch Bay Drive between Harborview and Shintaffer at this time.
  2. Birch Bay Drive south of Harborview - Whatcom County Public Works has opened Birch Bay Drive south of Harborview, both north and south, however the shoulders remain closed due to damage and debris. Pedestrians and bicyclists should use EXTREME caution in this area until cleanup is complete.
  3. The State of Washington Public Assistance Program Initial Damage Assessment is underway to determine the extent of the damages which occurred to public facilities (to include county, cities, special purpose districts, private non-profits, federally recognized tribal governments)  throughout the state. The Tentative Incident Period is December 10-25, 2018 -- Severe Winter Storm, High Winds, Flooding, Landslides, Mudslides, and a Tornado. 

  4. Completed Preliminary Damage Assessment forms are due back into the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management via email (wcsodem@co.whatcom.wa.us) by close of business January 9th, so that we can tabulate all damages Whatcom County wide and submit a consolidated report to the State by January 11th.

  5. Individuals and businesses should report damage to the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center Damage Assessment line (360) 788-5311. When residents and businesses call, they will be routed to voice mail, where they are being asked to please leave a message with their name, phone number, address, and the best time to return a call. Calls will be returned starting January 2, 2019 in order to complete the assessment. This Assessment is not a guarantee of financial assistance for losses.

  6. Whatcom County Planning and Community Development has established a Storm Damage Repair Permitting Process for those who have experienced damage to their home or business. If residents and businesses have sustained damage from the storm, they are asked to take photos to document the damage and verify that repairs are necessary. Then they should bring their photos into the Permit Center. Permit Center staff will use our Building Services Emergency Repair Permit policy to assess your situation and determine if you will be eligible to use this expedited process. More information can be found at http://whatcomcounty.us/358/Planning-Development-Services.

  7. Whatcom County Public Works continues clean-up and response County wide.

  8. The Whatcom County Proclamation of Emergency remains in effect.

Whatcom County Weather

Today will bring change with it.  Nothing dramatic, but we will see increasing clouds throughout the day with the potential for a sprinkle or two and then a greater chance for showers as we move into the evening hours.  Once again, the temperatures will be pleasant for this time of year with highs closing in on 50 degrees in the lower areas of the county and mid to upper 30s in the upper elevations including the Mount Baker Ski Resort Area.  There is also a chance of snow for the ski area and there could be some gusty winds, perhaps near 25 mph.  Lows for tonight will be in the upper 30s with freezing or below freezing temperatures at the ski area and NewHalem.  Tomorrow will be just about the same but the chance of rain will increase.  The lows for tomorrow night will stay in the low 40s and even the ski area may just dip below freezing.

The Nooksack River and small streams could see a little spike out of this next weather system that will move into the area.  Look for that beginning Saturday or Saturday afternoon but it is forecast to stay well within its’ banks.  Locally heavy rain can affect small streams however, so always keep an eye on them during periods of heavy rain.

Coastal Weather for Lummi Nation, Birch Bay, Lummi Island, Strait of Georgia, Pt. Roberts, Bellingham, and Blaine

For a Coastal Whatcom County today, winds will be from the east 10-20 knots with wind waves of 1-3 feet.  Tonight, northeast winds will be from 15-25 knots causing 2-4 foot waves.  On Thursday, expect the same- 15-25 knots winds with 2-4 foot waves.  For Thursday night the winds shift to the southeast at 15-25 knots.  The winds are forecast to stay in that 15-25 knot range so it is highly likely the “Small Craft Advisory which begins this evening at 6:00pm” will be extended.  

Emergency Preparedness

Don’t assume weather is the same across the county.  Lower elevations near the coast can see rain, while in the foothills, you can run into a rain/snow mixture, and the higher elevations can be all snow.  These changes can occur within short distances or small changes in elevation. Even if the skies are clear, temperatures rise and fall through the freezing level regularly which means frost can form along the sides of the roads, bridges and overpasses. And, water pooling on the roads can turn into ice making driving hazardous.  Buildings, mountains, and trees can block the sun from hitting the roads which can allow frost to form.  Be vigilant for all of these conditions when driving.

Make sure your winter survival kit is in your car.  Some items include extra blanket, flashlight, extra batteries, food, and water among others.  The Washington State Department of Transportation website has an example – see “Winter Driving-Emergency Car Kit” on their website.

Make sure you keep your gas tank at least half-full during winter months.  And should you find yourself stranded and running your car to keep warm, always make sure the exhaust is clear of obstacles and open your window to keep carbon monoxide from building up inside your vehicle.

Wind and low temperatures spell wind chill which can be especially dangerous.  Always dress appropriately and have some dry clothes in your vehicle if you get wet.

 If you’re headed to the ski area or backcountry make sure you’re aware of tree well and deep snow dangers along with the current avalanche conditions.  They can change rapidly.

 Remember, think safety and be prepared! 

Contact: Wallace Kost, 360.788.5305, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management