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King Tides Weekend: Few Surges for Oregon Coast / Washington Coast, But Still Caution

Published 01/18/23 at 4:30 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

King Tides This Weekend: Maybe Few Surges for Oregon Coast / Washington Coast - But Still Caution

(Oceanside, Oregon) – The last round of king tides for the Oregon coast is just two days away, and three days for the bulk of the Washington coast, bringing the highest tides of the year. (Above: Newport, photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Yet what will these bring to the northwest coastal regions? Will there be flooding, huge waves that cover the beaches? That's going to be interesting this time around, as no major storm action will happen over the weekend – in fact it may be rather calm and sunny. Often, there's major sea swells that coincide with the perigean spring tides, creating thirty-foot waves crashing onshore and wrecking stuff.

Not this time. Waves out at sea will be fairly mild for winter and that could mean the Oregon King Tides Project and the Washington King Tides program won't have a lot to look at.

Still, it's cause for plenty of caution as such enormous high tides – often in the 8-ft to 11-ft range – will definitely be dangerous on more closed and narrow beaches.


Flooding in Nehalem, courtesy Angi D. Wildt Gallery

For all of the Oregon coast and Ilwaco in Washington, king tides hit January 20 – 22. From South Bend in Washington up to tip of the north coast, king tides hit the Washington coast from January 21 – 23. Tides will be at 9.5 feet to 10 feet there, happening in the morning hours.

See the Washington king tides and Oregon king tides sites for further details. On the Washington coast, submit photos to https://mycoast.org/wa. On the Oregon coast, submit them to www.oregonkingtides.net or the project’s Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/orkingtide/albums.

Normally, the National Weather Service (NWS) winds up sending out one kind of high surf advisory, warning or another. This time, however, the agency isn't worried about much impact from La Push down through Brookings, according to meteorologist Tyler Kranz.

“Fortunately, the forecast looks rather quiet the next week and there are no strong storm systems moving in,” he told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “We do have a decent cold front coming in tomorrow [Wednesday] with breezy winds and a round of heavier rain, but this does not look like a system that will produce much of a storm surge. So, we are not very concerned about tomorrow's cold front. After that front, it looks mainly dry and quiet through at least Jan. 24th.”

Still, Kranz said there is likely some flooding in areas, even if it's minor, which the two states' king tide projects will want photos of.

“If a storm system pushes onto the coast at the same exact time as high tide, then we become much more concerned for coastal flooding as the higher than normal high tides will combine with the incoming storm surge to produce more significant coastal flooding,” he said. “If the weather is quiet during the perigean spring tides with no notable storm systems coming into the region, then we typically get away with only minor impacts such as minor flooding along portions of US Highway 101 right at and around high tide.”

King Tides This Weekend: Maybe Few Surges for Oregon Coast / Washington Coast - But Still Caution
Courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast: Shore Acres near Coos Bay should be a hoot

Combined seas for much of the Washington coast and upper half of Oregon's coast look to be around 12 feet or so from Friday through Sunday, which are still sizable waves.

For Oregon's southern coast, conditions mellow out from Thursday onwards, looking at 10- to 12-foot combined seas offshore.

Both king tides projects are hoping people will get out and snap photos so that comparisons can be made of these areas, assisting coastal planners with how to deal with sea level rise.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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