Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Samuel Alioto
Observer Staff Writer 

Unusually High Tides Coming to Southern California Beaches

Why you shouldn't rent a beach house the second week of January or February, 2020

 

December 22, 2019

File photo

These tourists were unconcerned about King Tides last year

A "King Tide:" is expected on January 10, 2020. At 8:13 am, times will measure 6.6 feet above the mean low low tide. (that's not a typo-there are two low tides on an average day, the lower one is called low low tide).

On January 11th, at 8:53 am, the tides will be just a tad higher than the day before, at 6.67 feet. And on January 11th at 9:11 am, the high tides will measure 6.53 feet.

On February 8 through 11th, Southern California beaches will see similarly high tides just after 9 am.

If waves are high, well, frankly you don't want to be living in the Malibu Colony. Those houses will probably see waves in their living rooms. But not to worry, they're insured for that.

California State Parks and the Coastal Commission will highlight this year's King tides, as they did the last two years. From 10 to 11 am, they plan to live stream the event.

Observer Staff Photo

A house in Malibu Colony. Not a place to be during King Tides!

Tides are due to the relative position of the Moon, Earth and Sun. When all three align, tides are at their highest.

Some seismologists have also theorized that earthquakes are more likely during such alignments, as the stress on the Earth's crust is greatest.

A king tide is an especially high spring tide, especially the perigean spring tides which occur three or four times a year, according to Wikipedia.

King tide is not a scientific term, nor is it used in a scientific context. The expression originated in Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific nations to describe especially high tides that occur a few times per year. It is now used in North America as well. This is particularly true in low-lying South Florida, where king tides can cause sunny day tidal flooding.

 

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