What are king tides and perigean spring tides?

High tides are extremely high tides that can lead to coastal flooding, especially when combined with other weather factors.

SEATTLE — Western Washington fell victim to a double tide and heavy rainfall Tuesday morning, resulting in flooding in the lowlands from Anacortes to Olympia.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), king tide is a non-scientific term to describe unusually high tides. This is the highest tide predicted for the year and higher than the highest water reached at mean high tide, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

Tides, which are long-duration waves that wind around the Earth, are influenced by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. That means higher-than-normal tides often occur during a new or full moon, which is when the moon, sun, and Earth are roughly aligned.

However, the tides are even higher when the moon is perigee, meaning it is closest to Earth in its monthly orbit. When this happens, it is called the perigean spring tide, as the king tide is more officially known.

This particular criterion makes the king’s reign frequent, events predictable. Tides usually occur once or twice a year in coastal areas.

Flooding does not always occur during high tides, but when combined with other factors, such as strong winds on the coast or changes in barometric pressure due to coastal storms, NOAA said. it can cause trouble.

That’s what happened in western Washington on Tuesday.

In Olympia, for example, officials prepared for high tides, but barometric pressure also “bottomed out,” resulting in higher-than-expected tides. Finally, Olympia recorded a record high tide of 18.4 feet, several feet higher than anticipated.

Tides are expected to be higher than normal through December 28, according to NOAA’s high tide bulletin. Perigean tides are also expected on January 18-26 and February 18-21. In January, some locations are expected to have their highest tides in 2023. .

Check the tide forecast near you on the NOAA website.

https://www.king5.com/article/weather/king-tides-western-washington-flooding/281-24abc645-79a0-4cb7-8216-aed27176ed08 What are king tides and perigean spring tides?

Edmund DeMarche

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