California sees unusually high 'king tides'
BY Associated Press
Friday, December 14, 2012
12/14/12 at 5:41 AM
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Seawater spread into several low-lying communities along the California coast Thursday morning as unusually high "king tides" pulled the Pacific Ocean farther ashore than normal.
Causing some damage but mostly just making a nuisance, water flooded Pacific Coast Highway and side streets in Sunset Beach, a sliver of Huntington Beach between the ocean and a yacht harbor. Down the Southern California coast, Newport Bay was brimming, while just north of San Francisco the tide swamped a commuter parking lot in Marin City and seeped into dozens of cars.
Bruce DuAmarell, an 18-year resident of the Sunset Beach, said he got a call at work from an alarmed neighbor and came home.
"My garage had flooded. There were four to five inches in my garage," he said, as he took a break from sweeping water out onto the street. "It came up over the seawall and literally filled up the harbor."
DuAmarell said he lost a vacuum cleaner and some Christmas presents for his children but otherwise was unscathed.
Occurring several times a year, king tides happen when the Earth, moon and sun align in a way that increases gravitational pull on Earth's oceans, raising water levels several feet above normal high tides. The non-scientific term also refers to extremely low tides.
The tide at Marin City reached 7 feet, slightly higher than during last December's king tides. The damage could have been much worse if the weather had brought big waves along with the high tides, National Weather Service forecaster Larry Smith said
"Right now it's just a neat thing. ... When we have the low tide this afternoon you will be able to see farther out than you normally would," Smith said. "It kind of does give you a glimpse of what the future might be with the sea level rise."
Original Print Headline: Calif. coast sees unusual king tides
Pedestrians cannot resist getting close to Thursday's "king tide" cresting along San Francisco's Embarcadero on Thursday. The tide measured 7.2 feet at the Golden Gate Bridge, the highest of the year. The king tides are expected to peak over the next several days, with surges more than 9 feet in some areas. The phenomenon is caused by a unique alignment of the sun, moon and Earth. KARL MONDON/Associated Press