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Temperatures up to 80 degrees expected in parts of Whatcom County, recreationists warned of related dangers

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Weather forecasts say to expect lowland temperatures to reach into the
upper 70s to low 80s today and tomorrow, Friday, April 28th, and Saturday, April 29th. This unseasonably warm weather is expected to result in an increase in recreational outdoor activity which poses a unique set of hazards according to experts.

The Northwest Avalanche Center issued the following special avalanche bulletin late Wednesday for the west slopes of the north Cascades in Whatcom County as well as other mountain regions in western Washington.

The first significant and extended warm-up of the Spring will lead to dangerous avalanche conditions. Mountain temperatures will stay well above freezing and freezing levels will soar to 12,000-14,000′ over the next several days. This warm-up will follow several weeks of below normal temperatures and snowy weather. At mid and especially higher elevations, the snowpack has not transitioned to a more typical and uniform spring snowpack. The likelihood of wet snow avalanches and cornice fall will be elevated over this period. The warm-up will also lead to rapid snow melt at lower elevations, challenging travel conditions, and other non-avalanche hazards. This statement may be extended through Sunday depending on how the weather pattern evolves.

Wet snow avalanches will occur over this period. Some of these slides will be very large and destructive. Natural or human triggered wet snow avalanches will include wet loose , wet slab, and glide avalanches, as well as cornice falls.

Click for more information

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Northwest Avalanche Center (April 26, 2023)

During past warming events during spring months, officials with the Whatcom County Department of Emergency Management have warned that “the Nooksack River temperature will be very cold as the snowmelt will keep the river water temperatures around the 40-degree mark or a little higher. Be very careful if planning any activity in the water as cold-water shock or hypothermia can occur quickly.”

Lake waters can also be expected to be frigid since there has been a lack of warm and sunny days so far this season. As a result, the same dangers of cold-water shock or hypothermia exist.

Warmer temperatures are expected in the foothills and cooler temperatures near the water. This warming trend is not expected to last long with a return to cooler seasonal temperatures expected on Sunday.

The following are the currently expected high temperatures across Whatcom County (based on meteoblue‘s high-resolution ensemble of multiple global and local forecast models combined with artificial intelligence).

Lummi Island68°71°67°
Point Roberts72°71°57°
Maple Falls78°77°59°
Sudden Valley72°74°57°

Whatcom News readers are encouraged to stay up to date with the current weather forecast for their specific locations via the Whatcom News Weather page.

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