Sheriff’s Office warns of multiple storms approaching

General Note Regarding This Weather Briefing: There are multiple storms approaching us over the next 48 hours and this message includes king tides, gale warning, and high wind warning.

It does not include the Winter Storm Warning for the foothills and the Cascades, the possibility of snowfall above 500’, or rainfall over this period. With respect to the snow forecast and winter storm warning, both the National Weather Service and Environment Canada are calling for potential snow in the lowlands (below 500 feet) with up to 12” possible in areas like Glacier and Maple Falls.

Whatcom County Coastal Weather Warning

Gale Warning Issued – The National Weather Service in Seattle has posted a Gale Warning, from 0000 tomorrow (January 10) to 1600 Friday, January 10. Winds will build through the day mainly from the southeast this afternoon generally in the 10-20 knot range. After midnight winds will build with gusts in the 30 to 40 knot range, pretty much along our entire coastline. These winds speeds will remain through most of the day Friday until about 1600 when we may begin to see gusts in the 40 to 50 knot range. Sustained winds should be in the 30-40 knot range with gusts to 45-55 knots Friday with peaks around 1000 and 1300.

This event will impact all the coastal areas of Whatcom County, including: Lummi Island, the Lummi peninsula, Sandy Point, Cherry Point, Chuckanut, Drayton Harbor, Blaine, Semiahmoo, Bellingham and Point Roberts.

Environment Canada has issued Gale Warnings for the Strait of Georgia South of Nanaimo for the same time frame.

A Gale Warning means winds of 34 to 47 knots are imminent or occurring. Operating a vessel in gale conditions requires experience and properly equipped vessels. It is highly recommended that mariners without the proper experience seek safe harbor prior to the onset of gale conditions.

Tidal Effects – The National Weather Service has said that we can expect minor tidal overflow on Friday and Saturday in their forecast for our King Tides (attached.) Coastal communities in Whatcom County may see tidal effects from this event as the winds are southeasterly and will coincide with the high tide at about 0630 Friday morning, and again around 0700 Saturday morning. The high tides, including storm surge should be between 10.5 and 10.9’. Drivers and persons on the beach should be cautious along low lying coastal roads and beaches particularly in Birch Bay, Blaine, Sandy Point, Lummi Island and Point Roberts areas.

Shore Side Effects – The National Weather Service in Seattle has also posted a High Wind Warning from 0100 tomorrow (January 10th) to 1300 Friday, January 10th. These will be primarily south 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. As with the marine forecast, we expect the strongest winds (up to 50 mph gusts) in Whatcom County between 1600 and 2000 Friday (January 3rd). This event will impact all of Whatcom County however it looks like the areas that may get the strongest winds are Lake Whatcom, the Chuckanuts, Lummi Island, the Lummi peninsula, Ferndale, and the eastern foothills including Deming, Everson and the Sumas Valley.

A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage. People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive.

Notes:

  1. It is possible that these wind events could cause downed trees and power outages.
  2. Persons should prepare for these winds by securing boats, patio furniture and items that may blow around.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office and Whatcom County Public Works are undertaking emergency and storm preparations.

Additional messages will be distributed as appropriate.

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