You are advised to wear galoshes near the Embarcadero and coastal areas this weekend, as the King Tides are making an earlier-than-expected return.
It’s usually more around January when the famed King Tides start sloshing water around areas near the ocean and Bay, and notably the Embarcadero. But that phenomenon is hitting a little early this year, as the Associated Press reports that the “astronomical high tides” are already in effect as of early Friday morning, and all coastal areas in California are expected to see much higher tides throughout this whole weekend.
King Tides will impact the area the next 3 days & bring some of the highest & lowest tides of the year.— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) December 2, 2021
These tides will bring localized flooding to several low lying areas along the SF bayshore during high tide during the mid to late morning each day. https://t.co/TZ4mWUYPEf pic.twitter.com/jC4kQWSZVF
The National Weather Service says that a coastal flood advisory is in effect until Sunday afternoon. “The highest astronomical tides of the year, commonly referred to as the King Tides, will again impact the coast today through the weekend,” the service said in a 2:30 a.m. Friday morning alert. “These tides will peak during the mid to late morning and have historically resulted in the localized flooding of specific low lying areas each year. In addition, the lowest low tides of the season will follow hours later in the afternoons. The King Tides tidal readings are expected to peak Saturday.”
Specifically, they’re expected to peak at about 10:45 Saturday morning.
Embarcadero high tide, 6.7’— Burrito Justice (@burritojustice) December 2, 2021
King Tide is Saturday, 7.1’, ~5 inches higher than today pic.twitter.com/5pYkSTuTeG
These King Tides give us a sense of what to expect as ocean levels will inevitably rise, but they are not caused by climate change.
“It all has to do with the positioning of the sun and the moon in their orbits,” National Weather Service meteorologist Drew Peterson told the Chronicle. “It always happens in December and January because the moon and the earth are at their closest and we are at maximum gravitational tidal forces.”
As you see above, the King Tides high jinks are already in effect, and Port workers are posting signage along the Embarcadero as you read this.
Some of you out there may be “King Tides Groupies” who really dig watching the phenomenon, and if you’re one of them, the Exploratorium has an event for you. A Royal Walk with the King Tide is a free event Saturday morning from 10:15–11:15 a.m. (masks are required, and they've done these before) meeting up between Pier 3 and Pier 5. According to the Exploratorium, “The high tide predicted at Pier 41 is 7.33 feet at 10:43 a.m. PST” on Saturday.
Screenshot: Thankyouocean via Youtube