King Tides At Least 7 Feet High will Slam California Coasts by Weekend, Forecast Shows
King Tides that are at least 7 feet high are predicted to slam California coasts this weekend.
Mother Nature hasn’t finished flooding California yet, even though the atmospheric rivers have stopped. The National Weather Service Bay Area office predicts that “king tides” of over 7 feet will cause minor coastal flooding for low-lying areas on Saturday and Sunday.
King tides are a natural phenomenon unrelated to climate change, in contrast to the recent torrential downpours. However, king tides, which are high tides that are one to two feet higher than the typical high tide, are believed by scientists to be a predictor of what California’s shoreline will resemble in the not-too-distant future as sea level rise is accelerated by climate change.
Lori Lambertson, a San Francisco Exploratorium science educator, said that future normal high tides will resemble the king tides of today.
The gravitational attraction of the moon and sun is what drives ocean tides. King tides happen when several astronomical occurrences take place simultaneously, including a new or full moon, the moon’s closest approach to the Earth, and the Earth’s closest approach to the sun, according to Lambertson.
Every morning from Thursday through Monday, higher-than-average tides are anticipated, as the National Weather Service reported on Tuesday. The tide will reach its highest point on Saturday at 10:15 AM, according to the NWS.
King Tides to Atmospheric Rivers, Lowest Tides
According to Sea Grant California, the most recent king tides took place on December 23 and 24, only a week before atmospheric rivers wreaked havoc in the area.
Michael Vasey, a San Francisco State University’s Estuary & Ocean Science Center lecturer, said that the king tides this weekend and recent stormwater flow will likely result in the highest tide in a long time, especially in areas where ocean water and freshwater mix. This is so that freshwater can be lifted even higher because ocean water acts as a wedge. After all, it is denser than freshwater.
Vasey said that he would be mobilizing and preparing if he were the public works employee assigned to the Bay.
Additionally, king tides bring about lower low tides in the afternoon. The NWS forecasted that the lowest tide of -1.76 feet would occur on Saturday at 5:15 PM.
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King Tide Events
According to Annie Kohut Frankel, the California King Tides Project manager with the California Coastal Commission, people can go tide-pooling at low tide and see a lot more underwater life than they typically do.
Frankel predicted that people who frequent the same spot and spend their days by the water will notice significant changes.
The King Tides Project features a map that displays the highest predicted tide at specific locations along the coastline. The project asks participants to take and post photos of king tides in their local area.
To learn more about king tides and the vulnerability to sea level rise, there are also many king tide walking events this weekend throughout the Bay Area and California, including one organized by the Exploratorium as well as the Port of San Francisco on Saturday between 10 AM and 11 AM.
According to Frankel, the pictures help everyone understand the future as sea levels rise and what is vulnerable, San Francisco Chronicle reports.
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