Ecology seeks public photos of higher-than-usual winter tides

Washington’s naturally-occurring king tides start on Wednesday Dec. 12, 2012, and the state Department of Ecology (Ecology) is inviting the public to share their photos of these higher-than-usual winter tides.

These tidal events are often referred to as king tides. They offer a potential glimpse of how rising sea levels from global climate change could affect Washington’s marine shoreline areas by:

  • Intensifying coastal flooding, especially during high tides and major storm surges.
  • Shifting marine beaches inland.
  • Increasing coastal bluff erosion.
  • Endangering houses and other structures built near the shore such as roads, seawalls and utilities.

In Washington’s coastal regions – Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and the outer coast – this season’s king tides will happen from late December 2012 through mid January 2013.

Dates vary slightly depending on location:

  • Along Washington’s outer coast, king tides will occur Dec. 12-15, 2012, and Jan. 10-12, 2013.
  • In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, they occur Dec. 12-14, 2012, and Jan. 8-12, 2013.
  • The Puget Sound dates for king tides are Dec. 16-19, 2012, and Jan. 14-17, 2013.

Follow these steps to participate:

  • Take photos during a king tide, preferably where the high water levels can be gauged against familiar landmarks such as sea walls, jetties, bridge supports or buildings.
  • Play it safe! While the winter king tides occur during daylight hours, don’t venture out during severe weather and keep a close eye on rising water levels.

Since 2010, Ecology has collected nearly 500 king tide photos from the public.

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