Every year in early winter, high tides in Oregon are higher than usual. These extreme high tides, commonly called “King Tides,” occur at a few specific times during the year when the moon is closest to the Earth. In Oregon, King Tides are typically 2-4 feet higher than regular high tides. Winter storm surge and high winds and waves can drive water even further inland than the tides themselves. The final King Tide series for this season is February 8-10.
Why document King Tides?
King Tide events give us glimpse into the future to see what the impacts of sea level rise could look like in our coastal communities. Even a small increase in sea level could escalate the impacts of winter storms along the Oregon coast, intensify chronic hazards like erosion and flooding, and reduce the width of the public beach. Identifying these impacts will allow property owners, businesses, and government plan for these impacts.
How can you help?
Take a photo of the King Tide and submit it to oregonkingtides.net! Helpful King Tide photos show water levels adjacent to a fixed feature like a piling, seawall or bridge abutment. Including fixed features allows actual water levels to be documented and tracked over time. Two photos taken from the same spot, one during the king tide and the other at a typical high tide are also very effective in highlighting these high water events. Find tide tables for your area and instructions for how to take and upload photos on the King Tides website: oregonkingtides.net.
Safety, safety, safety!
No photo is worth risking your life for! Take your photo from a safe location where the waves cannot reach you and the ground is solid. In winter, we also have more sneaker waves – waves that come much further inland than any of the other waves. Sneaker waves (as the name implies) come out of nowhere without any warning. When scoping a location to take your photo from, observe from a safe distance to assess how high the waves are coming onto the beach before approaching a location.
Need some inspiration? Here are some great photos from past events.