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Monster High Tides To Hit Bay Area, Flood Low-Lying Coastal Areas

Brandon Mercer
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A flooded street in Mill Valley, due to 'king tides.' December 13, 2012. (CBS)

A flooded street in Mill Valley, due to ‘king tides.’ December 13, 2012. (CBS)

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA (CBS SF) — The sun and moon’s gravity align Monday to create the highest tides of the year, known as King Tides, potentially flooding low-lying roadways, and leading to unusual sights around docks, piers, and beaches in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The extreme conditions occur a few times a year, and last through Thursday, January 2nd. A second King Tides condition occurs January 29th-31st, 2014.

The highest water levels hit New Year’s Day at 10:40 a.m., rising 7 feet, 1 inch above sea level. Conversely, the low tide will also be extreme for the same reason, hitting a low of negative 1 foot, 7 inches on Wednesday evening.

When coupled with a Pacific storm’s wind and waves, the tides can lead to significant flooding, however, given the recent unusually calm and clear conditions, the tides’ effects will not be amplified by storm waters.

With some scientists forecasting a two-foot rise in sea levels in the next 40 years, activists are asking ocean watchers to document the effects the tides will have. The California King Tides Initiative is categorizing photos uploaded of the tides to explore what coastal regions might look like with a permanent rise in sea level.

“Many of our beaches, trails, wetlands, roadways, and critical infrastructure become flooded during king tides, illustrating the severity and scope of potential sea-level rise impacts,” Susan Hansch, Chief Deputy Director at the California Coastal Commission said in a news release.  “Significant economic impacts underscore the need to start planning for sea level rise in California now.”

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