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Towering 'King Tides' Hitting California Coastline

People at the beach by the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier. Aug. 22, 2020.
Alexander Nguyen
People at the beach by the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier. Aug. 22, 2020.

Astronomical high tides known as “King Tides” are hitting the California coast on Sunday and Monday mornings — and in some places, into Tuesday — with tides expected to reach nearly 7 feet (2.13 meters).

King Tides happen when the sun, moon and Earth are in alignment and the moon is in its closest position to the Earth, creating a stronger gravitational pull. The next King Tides event will occur Dec. 13 to Dec. 15.

Towering 'King Tides' Hitting California Coastline
Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

The California coast is not expected to see major flooding as a result of the towering tides but some low-lying areas are taking precautions.

Last year, King Tides in Imperial Beach caused a bit of erosion and some street flooding. Lt. Brian Clark is a lifeguard in San Diego and said this King Tides event likely won’t bring as much damage.

“Right now we do have the King Tide but the surf isn’t quite big enough to where it’s going to make that drastic of an impact on the coastal erosion," Clark said.

Clark added that people still need to be aware of the dangers with the extreme tide changes, such as shallow wave breaks.

“You’ll see the tide coming up a lot higher and then you’ll also see the tide receding a lot further," he said.

In Seal Beach, workers constructed sand barriers to protect the boardwalk and beachfront homes, according to The Orange County Register.

In Huntington Beach on Sunday morning, Todd Miller watched his 17-year-old son, Taj, surf with his friends. While Miller didn't realize King Tides were expected, his son did and they arrived at the beach two hours later than usual to avoid any potentially dangerous conditions.

Still, the tide brought the ocean "literally halfway up the beach,” Miller said.

Huntington Beach's high tide was 6.89 feet (2.1 meters) at 8:23 a.m., the city reported.