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Get Ready for Wild(ish?) King Tides on Oregon Coast, Washington Coast

Published 11/18/22 at 3:29 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Get Ready for Wild(ish?) King Tides on Oregon Coast, Washington Coast

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(Newport, Oregon) – Every year, the highest high tides of the year occur in winter, three times between November and January. They're a product of the sun and moon aligning together to pull on the tides, creating higher-than-normal tidal events. They're actually known as perigean spring tides, a term that meteorologists prefer but scientists studying the effects of tides on land have come to use the term “king tides.” (Above: Cape Disappointment, Wash., photo courtesy Marie Marshall / Oregon King Tides)

The first round happens along the Oregon coast and Washington coast on November 24 – 26, and in both states officials are asking the public to photograph them and submit them.

Inland seas in Washington happen two days later, on November 26 – 28.

On the Washington coast, submit them 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.



Coos Bay, courtesy Robert More / Oregon King Tides

This year's event, while displaying substantial high tides in the 9- to 10-foot range in many areas, may not be as spectacular as some previous years. The last few years, most of the events have managed to coincide with major storms, creating massive displays and waves sometimes 30 feet high or more. This year's weather on the Oregon coast and Washington coast doesn't appear to be as dramatic, although full wave height predictions are not yet available for those days from the National Weather Service (NWS). The days leading up to it are not featuring waves that are very high.

That does not mean there won't be dangers. The Oregon King Tides Project is still urging extreme caution on these days.

“It is imperative that you keep an eye on the ocean at all times,” the Project said. “Never put yourself in danger. Be very cautious of rising water, eroding shorelines, flooded roadways, and high winds during any extreme high tide events.”

Ocean predictions can change between now and then as well.


Rockaway Beach: courtesy Lawrence Soto / Oregon King Tides

The whole point behind both King Tides projects is to document how tidal influx is changing in the region. Climate change is causing sea levels to rise around the world, which is beginning to impact the coastlines of the Pacific Northwest. The Oregon Coastal Management Program (OCMP) has created tools to assist communities in planning for these impacts and continues to lead a community science effort documenting Oregon’s king tides.

In Washington State, it's Washington Sea Grant working in the same capacity.

These major high tides give a preview of what will start to happen with sea level rise.

“Sea-level rise rates are slower in Oregon than other parts of the country, but Oregon’s coast, particularly the central coast, is experiencing sea level rise every year,” OCMP said. “The coming years will bring higher tides, and more inundation of coastal communities.”

The other king tides date fall on December 22 - 24, 2022; and January 20 - 22, 2023.

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Westport: courtesy Shian Klassen / Washington King Tides Project


Bandon: courtesy Gleneda Borton / Oregon King Tides Project

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