King tides bring super high — and super low — tides to O.C.

The National Weather Service projects that a 7-foot king tide will hit Orange County beaches Friday and Saturday between 7 and 9 a.m.

Although flooding is expected to be minor, some parking lots and boardwalks may be submerged, the National Weather Service said.

Likely flood locations include Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula, the Oceanside Strand and several major beaches in San Diego.

“King tides” is a nonscientific term that refers to tides that are exceptionally high. They occur when the sun, moon and Earth are in gravitational alignment. Coastal Commission officials say the king tides allow researchers to see what higher sea levels — caused by human-induced sea level rise — will be like in the near future.

John Pope, a Newport Beach spokesman, said that although the area could use rainfall, it’s fortunate none is forecast for the weekend along with the king tides: “The worst flooding problems on the [Balboa] Peninsula and Balboa Island have occurred when extremely high tides happened along with high rainfalls.”

Though no major flooding is expected, Pope said city staff would be stationed throughout the peninsula and the island in anticipation that some water would need to be pumped out of the streets.

“The other aspect of king tides is that what goes up must come down,” said meteorologist Mark Moede.

“We have high tides in the morning, but that will go to very low tides in the afternoon,” he said. “For those that want to go and explore areas that are usually not exposed, that would be the time to go to the beach to do some tide pool exploration.”

Moede said tides would fall to about -1.8 feet between 3 and 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The California King Tides Project, organized by theCommission to “visualize future sea level by observing the highest tides of today,” will hold events throughout the state this weekend.

It is asking participants to photograph high sea levels and upload them to a statewide map. The king tides will return Jan. 21 and 22.

Nguyen writes for Times Community News.

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