.King Tides On The Horizon

King tides, or the highest tides of the year, are expected to move into the Monterey Bay Area Wednesday through Friday.

Dial Hoang, meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Monterey, said high tides could reach six feet around Monterey Bay and even 7 feet in the San Francisco Bay Area.

King Tide is a term used to describe very high tides, caused by the alignment of the gravitational pull between the sun, moon, and Earth, Hoang said. If such tides occur during floods or storms, water levels can rise much higher than normal conditions with a potential of causing damage to the coastline and coastal properties—similar to what coastal areas in Santa Cruz County experienced just over a week ago.

Adding to the impact, Hoang said, is a weak weather system coming through around Wednesday in combination with a northwest swell generated by a low pressure system in the Pacific.

The swell will have a more significant impact and could bring some flooding around the Monterey Bay at beaches and low lying areas around Moss Landing and elsewhere in the Monterey Bay.

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“The old rule of never turning your back on the ocean is always a good idea,” he said. “The weather system could create the risk of winter waves or sneaker waves and some coastal trails and paths might get tidal water. There are a couple systems coming in the middle of the week. There’s not much rain in the model we’re seeing, like less than a tenth of an inch. The big question is toward the end of the week when a more significant system off the Pacific comes in with a chance of more rainfall and significant winds.”

Hoang added that there is a significant upper level trough moving toward the U.S. west coast but it is not yet clear if it will impact California, Oregon or Washington. 

“That is something we are watching carefully,” Hoang said.


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Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.
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