Highest Tides Of The Year: Last Of King Tides To Hit Northwest Coast Friday

Massive waves at Shore Acres State Park / via Danielle Denham @thepdxphotographer

The last low tides of the season are forecast to flood shallow beaches in the Pacific Northwest starting Friday, between January 20th and 22nd. KOIN 6 News Meteorologist Kelley Bayern reports the tide will swell to more than 9 feet at times this weekend. Large waves of 15 to 18 feet are also possible in northwestern Oregon and southwestern Washington. With no major storms predicted this weekend, it's expected to be mostly calm with some sunshine.

What are king tides?  King tides are higher than normal tides that usually occur during a full moon or new moon around the world.  The term king tide itself isn’t a scientific name for the phenomenon, but it’s widely used across the United States to represent these tides that bring massive waves, flooding, and erosion, which is a serious issue for coastal communities.

This astronomical alignment happens one to two times per year. As shown by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, king tides occur when the alignment of the sun and moon pull on Earth’s oceans, causing tides to swell.

The sun and moon align to pull on earth’s oceans, causing king tides, also known as spring tides. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Safety is very important when visiting the Oregon coast, especially when you’re going during a king tide or to photograph waves. Visiting the Oregon coast is an at-your-own-risk activity. Please keep in mind:

  • Wet surfaces are slippery and can send you into the ocean.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Know the weather conditions before you go and prepare for inclement weather.
  • Always obey safety signs.
  • Stay behind guard rails and fences.
  • Do not climb down cliffs or get too close to edges near the water as massive waves can shoot up into the air where you’re standing.
  • Photographers should stay off the beach and take photos from a distance during high tides and king tides. These photos are NOT worth losing your life over.

Want to submit your photos of? Check out MyCoast: Washington, a Washington Department of Natural Resources collaboration with other project partners, including US Geological Survey, Washington Sea Grant, the Snohomish County Marine Resource Committee, and the Northwest Straits Initiative. Information collected through this site is used to characterize beach change and the impact of nearshore hazards in order to enhance awareness among decision-makers and stakeholders.

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For Oregon submissions, you can head over to Oregon King Tides here and submit your images.

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