King Tides return this weekend to the coast of Grays Harbor and Pacific counties.
“King Tide” is an unofficial term that is used to describe especially high tides impacted by gravitational pull, exacerbated at the time when the sun is closest to the Earth.
Washington Sea Grant predicts that these King Tides will impact the coastal areas January 20-23, with the Ilwaco area seeing the first rise, and the Westport area seeing the effects Saturday through Monday.
According to officials from the National Weather Service, these tides occur at higher levels in the Winter months due to the earth being closest to the sun during annual orbit at this time.
With the King Tides expected, coastal flooding events could be exacerbated and lead to water rising much higher than normal into communities.
This could be compounded due to heavy rain, snowmelt, increased pressure and wind effects, and other natural events.
Officials state that while another round of larger astronomical high tides are expected this weekend through early next week, significant increases above the predicted tides are not expected.
Additionally, they say that there are no other factors that are likely to significantly increase water levels during this time (such as significant wind-driven waves, elevated river levels, heavy precipitation, or snowmelt).
While some minor tidal overflow is possible during the largest of the high tides, the expected water levels are not anticipated to reach the levels of the December 26-27, 2022 high tides.
Tide guidance given by NWS and NOAA officials say that the tides could reach their highest levels in the Westport area late Saturday.