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Caution Urged: King Tides Bring Flooding, Steep Seas to Oregon / Washington Coast

Published 01/01/22 at 4:32 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Caution Urged: King Tides Bring Flooding, Steep Seas to Oregon / Washington Coast

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(Lincoln City, Oregon) – The final round of king tides are headed for the Washington and Oregon coast on Saturday through Monday (January 1 – 3), and the final two days are expected to bring some coastal flooding, sneaker wave dangers and extra large swells. High winds will also be present. Officials on the Washington coast and Oregon coast want you to take pictures of these extra high tides, but you need to do so from afar and keep safety in mind as offshore swells will combine with the king tides to create some flooding and additional threats. (Above: king tide photo in Nehalem, by Gretel Oxwang / Oregon King Tides Project.)

The first day of king tides will be nothing unusual, but Sunday and Monday will create the problems. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flood watch for the entire Oregon coast and southern part of the Washington coast, in effect Sunday for the northern half of Oregon and southern part of Washington's coast, and in effect Monday for south Oregon coast. Offshore, there is a hazardous seas watch for the south Oregon coast on Monday, bringing combined seas up near 20 feet.

On top of it all, there is now a high wind warning for the entire Oregon coast and south Washington coast, with gusts up to 75 mph possible. This is in effect from Sunday afternoon through Monday.

King tides – actually known as perigean spring tides – happen when the sun and the moon align to pull on tides together, creating higher-than-normal tide events. This time around, swells offshore will be rather large on Sunday and Monday, depending where you are. This will give the king tides some extra pushes, which will make for more spectacular photos and scenery but many more dangers.

The Washington coast won't get as much of an extra shove, however, as offshore swells are not as high, according to NWS predictions. The effects lessen the farther north towards the Olympic Peninsula you go.

However, the NWS is cautioning beachgoers, while remaining just short of official warnings.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

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“A perigean spring tide event will be occurring between now and January 7th, this coupled with the persistent southerly winds offshore will bring minor tidal overflow flooding along the coast,” the NWS said. “Areas of concern will be low lying areas near bays, estuaries, and the lower reaches of coastal rivers. The total tide, the forecasted tide plus storm surge, will reach its peak between 11 and 12 feet along the coast around noon. In addition, the westerly swell forecast to move into the waters Monday afternoon will undoubtedly bring a sneaker wave threat, but at this point, the swell appears likely to fall short of High Surf criteria.”

In some areas of Oregon, the double punch will be more than others. Combined seas may get well above 20 feet offshore on Sunday and Monday for the central Oregon coast and southward, but north of Oceanside or so they may well be in the lower 20-foot-range.

On the south coast, steep seas up to 22 feet are possible on Monday in the offshore waters coinciding with the noon king tides, expected at around 9 feet in the Bandon area (for example).

On the Washington coast, king tides happen generally around noon or so on Saturday, Sunday and Monday (see the Washington king tides page). On the Oregon coast, they differ greatly from around 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., depending on location and day (see the Oregon King Tides page).

See How Not to Get Killed During King Tides.

Coastal flooding may affect driving along the coastal highways. Tidal overflow is expected.

For southwest Washington and northwest Oregon beach towns, the Coastal Flood Advisory is in effect from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Minor flooding of one foot above ground level is quite possible.

According to the NWS:

The Sunday afternoon high tide at Toke Point (Washington) is forecast to peak near 12.5 feet around noon.

The Sunday afternoon high tide at Tongue Point in Astoria is forecast to peak near 11.5 feet around noon.

The Sunday afternoon high tide at Garibaldi is forecast to peak near 11 ft around noon.

The Sunday afternoon high tide at South Beach is forecast to peak near 11.5 ft around 11 am.

For the south Oregon coast, the coastal flood watch is in effect from Monday morning through Monday afternoon.

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MORE PHOTOS BELOW






Bandon - courtesy Gleneda Borton / King Tides Project


Westport, courtesy Washington King Tides / Shian Klassen

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