Coastal weather warning received from sheriff's office

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The following coastal weather warning was received from the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office Division of Emergency Management on the morning of Wednesday, January 15.

Gale Warning Extended – The National Weather Service in Seattle has extended the current Gale Warning, until 1600 Friday, January 17th.  The northeast winds will be shifting today and overnight to stronger southeast winds.  The northeast winds are generally in the 10-20 knot range.  After midnight winds will shift to the southeast and build with gusts in the 30 to 40 knot range, pretty much along our entire coastline. Peak winds should be 0100 and 0400, possibly with gusts up to 60 knots. 

Environment Canada has issued STORM Warnings for the Strait of Georgia South of Nanaimo – (Wind easterly 15 to 25 knots increasing to easterly 25 to 35 this morning and to southeast 40 to 50 this evening. Wind becoming southerly 30 to 40 after midnight with gusts to 50 then diminishing to southwest 15 to 25 Thursday morning. Wind diminishing to southwest 5 to 15 near noon Thursday.)

 This event should 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.

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. 

A Storm Warning means 'Storm' force winds of 48 to 63 knots are occurring or expected to occur in this marine area.

 Tidal Effects:

The National Weather Service has said that the incoming low pressure system could produce modest tidal surge on Thursday.  we can expect minor tidal overflow on Friday and Saturday in their forecast for our King Tides. Coastal communities in Whatcom County may see tidal effects from this event as it will coincide with the high tide at about 1000 Thursday morning. The high tides, including storm surge should be around 10.5’

The Lower Mainland is posting coastal flooding concerns for Boundary Bay and Point Roberts for Thursday morning during the high tide at 1000.

 Drivers and persons on the beach should be cautious along low lying coastal roads and beaches particularly in the Point Roberts areas.

 Shore Side Effects:

1.    The National Weather Service has issued a high wind advisory starting at 1300 today through 0100 for Whatcom County including the City of Bellingham with east winds 25-35 with gusts up to 45 mph –AND-

2.     The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning starting at 1300 today through 0100 for Lummi Island and coastal Whatcom County bordering the Strait of Georgia with southeast winds with gusts up to 60.

 These will be primarily southeast 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.  As with the marine forecast, we expect the strongest winds in Whatcom County between 0100 and 0400 Thursday (January 16th).  This event will impact all of Whatcom County however it looks like the areas that may get the strongest winds are Point Roberts, Lummi Island, the Lummi peninsula, and the eastern foothills including Deming and Everson.

A Wind Advisory means that winds of 35 mph with higher gusts are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. Use extra caution.

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 continuing emergency and storm preparations. 

 Additional messages will be distributed as appropriate.

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