JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Living across the First Coast, we are no strangers to the puddles and even temporary mini-lakes that can pop up during or after a heavy rain. People who frequent places like Atlantic Beach, or historic St. Augustine even know how high tides can sometimes mean water up the dunes, or rushing into the streets.
This year's autumn king tides are upon us, but what are they and what does it mean for our beloved home?
For starters, a king tide is a non-scientific term people often use to describe exceptionally higher than normal tides. King tides are the highest predicted high tide cycles of the year at a given coastal location.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "higher than normal tides typically occur during a new or full moon and when the Moon is at its perigee, or during specific seasons around the country."
"King tides bring unusually high water levels, and they can cause local tidal flooding, the Environmental Protection Agency states. "Over time, sea level rise is raising the height of tidal systems. Average daily water levels are rising along with the oceans. As a result, high tides are reaching higher and extending further inland than in the past. King tides preview how sea level rise will affect coastal places. As time goes by, the water level reached now during a king tide will be the water level reached at high tide on an average day."
Sea level rise will make today’s king tides become the future’s everyday tides.
NOAA's 2021 High Tide Bulletin lists king tides for the Southeast as:
- October 6-11
- November 4-8
During these times, tides will be higher than normal because a perigean spring tide will be occurring. This when the moon is either new or full and closest to Earth. Higher than normal high tides and lower than normal low tides will occur.
The king tides are also due to a generally higher mean sea level in the early fall months due to warmer, expanding ocean water and changes in weather patterns.
Coastal areas can expect minor tidal flooding, especially in low-lying areas. If a storm occurs at this time, an increased level of tidal flooding and coastal erosion may occur. For instance, if the First Coast were to see a nor'easter around the same time as king tides.
The City of Atlantic Beach and City of St. Augustine also posted to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to warn residents ahead of time of the Fall 2021 forecast king tides.
If you are experiencing king tides in your area, and you want to share what it's like during times of high tide, you can share your photos, videos, or reports with us on our First Coast News Weather Watchers Facebook group.
You can also report the water levels to our local National Weather Service office in Jacksonville.