All hail the king tide


Naomi Asrir

Coastal areas are to expect king tides until Thursday.

Since the Medieval Ages, only the bravest of them all challenged the king.

Coastal Bay Area residents should be high alert around the waterfront this week due to king tides predicted to last until Thursday, Feb. 19.

Meteorologist Roger Gass with the National Weather Service in Monterey claims that this will be last king tide until next winter.

When the sun and moon’s gravitational pull align, it results in the king tide or extreme tides. Especially in the winter, when Earth is closer to the sun, king tides are larger.

“Even though surfing is all about the waves, I stay clear of the beach during king tides. Unpredictable wave patterns during high and low tide, makes it hard and less safe for young surfers,” said junior Claire Boman.

King tides are natural, and are part of the tidal cycle. They are not affected by global warming and climate change, but provided a preview of high sea levels as a result of a warmer climate.

Junior Melody Shanahan said, “King tides are important to the future of coastal cities. They provide and insight of a  life with higher sea levels through the flooding of current low-laying landmarks, ultimately motivating individuals to make smarter decisions to protect the Earth and prevent sea levels from rising.”

Local weather and the ocean conditions specific to that day are the main factors in determining the actual height of king waves, making each tide unique.

Strong rip currents appear during low tide and possibly flood low-lying areas including coastal trails and roadways.

Tides have the ability to affect sloughs and marshes, affecting not only coastal residents but also boaters and fisherman throughout the bay.

“When we have these so-called king tides, we also have lower than normal tides during the low tides,” Gass said. “There are cases where the water recedes a little more than usual that will actually cause boats to touch bottom when they’re at the dock or whatnot.”

Boaters and families living near waterfront areas constantly need to be aware of water levels. For more information on king tide seasons and wave heights, click here.