Here’s the 8:20 a.m. update on impact of the ice storm that’s hit northern Whatcom County from John Gargett, deputy director Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management:
The ice storm is continuing to impact much of the north part of Whatcom County. The temperatures have warmed up above freezing, and the freezing rain has ended, however this did not occur until after midnight in most areas and with trees and power poles continuing to fall through the night, it was simply not safe for either the public or emergency responders to be on the roads in the north county and many emergency crews had to pull back as trees, limbs and power poles fell throughout the night. Lynden and Sumas have been the two hardest hit areas.
Throughout the ice storm yesterday and last night, more than 20 local, state and federal agencies responded throughout Whatcom County. There were three dispatches for people who had downed power lines on their cars, at the height of the ice storm, an expectant mother needed to be transported to the hospital to give birth from Sumas, and more responses to vehicle incidents than can be counted.
Power: There are still thousands without power this morning in Whatcom County and Puget Sound Energy is doing everything possible to restore service to all areas.
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Roads: Many roads in the north and east county are still blocked with downed power poles and fallen trees and limbs. A current list of roads closed/impacted can be found at the Whatcom County Public Works website. While the freezing rain and ice have ended, it is still not known what roads area impacted. Whatcom County Public Works crews worked throughout the night but did have to pull crews off last night as conditions were too dangerous. Beginning at 4 a.m. this morning crews have gone back out to clear roads and assess impacts.
Travel advice: It is still recommended that people avoid unnecessary travel to the North and East County. Throughout today, Dec. 30, emergency responders, Puget Sound Energy, Whatcom County Public Works, the Cities of Lynden and Sumas, Whatcom County Fire District 14, North Whatcom Fire and Rescue, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Washington State Patrol and Department of Transportation are all out assessing conditions, clearing roads and restoring power. Staying off the roads will help emergency personnel restore power and open roads.
Continuing weather: While the ice storm has essentially ended, freezing temperatures can be expected overnight and through the weekend which may cause slick roads.