By Lili Bastian, Marine Policy Fellow at WA Department of Ecology
King Tide season isn’t here yet, but this weekend should provide an early opportunity to witness some exceptionally high tides along the coast. In fact, the coming storm could bring some of the highest tides of the year— and show us what to expect from future rising seas.
The second of two consecutive low-pressure systems is expected to hit western Washington Saturday and is projected to bring historic winds and waves of up to 10 meters. High tides are already predicted to reach up to 15.5 feet in Olympia’s Budd Inlet through Monday, but the low-pressure systems have helped pull actual tide levels higher than predicted throughout Puget Sound— up to three feet higher than predicted in La Push. These elevated water levels are likely to continue through the weekend. If tomorrow’s projected weather holds (including historic wind speeds and major barometric pressure change), parts of the coast could see near record-high tides.
Exact tide levels are notoriously hard to predict and true King Tides won’t begin for a couple of months, but this weekend may be a great chance to snap photos of your favorite King Tide viewing spots. As many of you know, Washington Sea Grant and Ecology jointly oversee the Washington King Tides Initiative.
The King Tides Initiative serves to help people visualize the future of Washington’s coast— a future with higher sea levels, intensified flooding, and threatened infrastructure. Citizens can help document changes in the high water level around iconic landmarks and familiar views of bridges, jetties, beaches and any other structures by contributing photos to the Washington King Tides Initiative project site. I encourage you to participate and share the opportunity with others in your networks via social media—we could even end up with a coast-wide record of this storm’s effects. The project currently has photos for these sites and others:
Saturday’s storm is potentially historic and warrants great caution, but, just ahead of King Tide season, it’s also a chance to consider how extreme high water levels will affect our communities. By safely documenting the effects of climate change on Washington’s coasts, we can use this hazard to demonstrate the need for coastal resilience work. Stay safe and happy snapping!
The contents of this website, including the blog, forum, and links to other sites, are provided for informational use and may not reflect the positions and priorities of all network members, including Washington Sea Grant and the Department of Ecology. Comments posted to this site do not constitute formal public comment. Ecology, Sea Grant and network members do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information contained on any linked websites.