See what weather’s in store for the holiday weekend

Pass the stuffing, fill the sandbags

Thanksgiving will be rainy as usual. Warm weather will bring rain and cause rivers and creeks to rise too. A flood watch has been issued for Whatcom County.
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Thanksgiving will be rainy as usual. Warm weather will bring rain and cause rivers and creeks to rise too. A flood watch has been issued for Whatcom County.

Rain or showers are likely through an unseasonably warm Thanksgiving holiday weekend, prompting warnings about landslides and lowland flooding in Western Washington.

A temperature of 62 degrees at 6:53 a.m. Wednesday broke the record high of 60 for Nov. 22 set in 1995 at Bellingham International Airport. By 12:53 p.m., it was 67 degrees.

But weather should have minimal effect on travelers over the mountain passes, forecasters said, because the snow level was rising with the temperature.

“It’s going to be pretty mild ... well above seasonal norms,” said Ted Buehner, a meteorologist who coordinates weather warnings at the weather service office in Seattle.

Continued rain was forecast from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday night. High temperatures will be in the low 50s, with overnight lows in the 40s.

A special weather statement warns of increased soil moisture and the possibility of landslides across the interior lowlands of Western Washington, including Whatcom County, according to the National Weather Service. In addition, a flood watch was issued through Thanksgiving Day for Western Washington, including Whatcom County.

Buehner said the warm weather will lift snow levels to about 8,000 feet, adding to river runoff but keeping the mountain passes generally snow-free.

“Water on the roadway is another concern,” Buehner said. “You’ won’t want to be flying by at 70 mph.”

Mt. Baker Ski Area was reporting rain with a temperature of 48 degrees Wednesday afternoon at Heather Meadows. The ski area was open with limited midweek operations Wednesday.

Both meteorologists and ski area officials said the rain would do little to reduce the early season snowpack. The Ski Area has a 48-inch base at Heather Meadows and a 66-inch base at Panorama Dome.

“It’s not the best skiing conditions, but (the rain will) get sucked into the snowpack,” Buehner said.

Although some Seattle-area rivers could see heavy flows for the next few days, flooding in Whatcom County would be minor, weather officials said.

Whatcom County Public Works Department officials announced several road closures Wednesday because of flooding.

On the Nooksack River at Ferndale, gage height was 13.86 and rising Wednesday morning, according to U.S. Geological Survey readings published online.

nooksack flood gage copy
National Weather Service Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Forecast models show the Nooksack rising quickly over the next two days toward minor flood stage of 18 feet. The river was expected to crest Friday morning about 19 feet, below the moderate flood stage mark of 20.5 feet.

Near Nugents Corner, the Nooksack was at 144.57 feet and rising Wednesday morning. Forecast models show the river cresting Friday morning above the flood stage of 146.5 feet.

“I doubt that we’ll have any major flooding, but there are concerns that we’ll be crossing that threshold,” Buehner said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

Road closures

▪  Bylsma Road north of East Wiser Lake Road: water / debris over roadway.

▪  Ferndale Road north of Slater Road: water / debris over roadway.

▪  Goodwin Road south of Sorenson Road: water / debris over roadway.

▪  Hemmi east of Hannegan: water / debris over roadway.

▪  Innis Creek Road: water / debris over roadway.

▪  Jackman, 9300 Block: caution shoulder erosion.

▪  Legoe Bay at West Shore: Lummi Island: posted for single lane ahead.

▪  Legoe Bay Road east of West Shore Drive: rough road motorcycles use caution.

▪  Marine Drive north of Bayon Road: water / debris over roadway.

▪  North Pass north of Deeter: water / debris over roadway.

▪  Oat Coles south of South Pass: water / debris over roadway.

▪  Pangborn east of Depot: abrupt lane edge, motorcycles use caution.

▪  Park Road, 4800 block: rough road, motorcycles use caution.

▪  West Shore Drive south of Nugent: single lane ahead, be prepared to stop.

▪  West Badger Road at Bertrand Creek Bridge: road restriction, 10-ton limitation - restricted, weight.

▪  Wickersham Road: water / debris over roadway.

▪  Woodland at Willeys Lake: caution, shoulder erosion.

Source: Whatcom County Public Works Department

This list last updated: Nov 22, 2017 2:09:47 p.m.