Big Waves and High Tides


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King tide flooding on Jackson Ranch Road in Arcata in November. - KIMBERLY WEAR
  • Kimberly Wear
  • King tide flooding on Jackson Ranch Road in Arcata in November.
Large breaking waves are expected to begin hitting the local coast this afternoon, with the largest ones upward of 21 feet hitting in the evening hours, creating hazardous conditions, according to the Eureka office of the National Weather Service.

“With these conditions in place, people should stay off the rocks and jetties as large waves will crash over coastal features that may not normally get wet during smaller wave conditions,” the NWS post states. “Don’t let the ocean fool you! Large waves can catch you off guard if you get to close to the water’s edge or out on rocks and jetties.”

Last week, a 65-year-old Salt Lake City magazine editor visiting the area died after being swept off the North Jetty by a large wave. Mary Malouf and her son were both hit but the son was able to hold onto rocks while Malouf was swept out to sea.

Waves will continue to be around 19 feet by Monday morning, which will coincide with the peak of the so-called king tides, astronomically high tides that occur when there is an alignment of the gravitational pull between sun, moon and Earth that are expected to cause flooding in low-lying areas, such as King Salmon and the Arcata Bottom, where Jackson Ranch Road has overflowed in the past.

“Rising tides Monday morning will increase the risk of getting trapped or swept off rocks,” the NWS post states.” As always, never turn your back to the ocean!”

This round of king tides will last until Dec. 15. 

Humboldt Baykeeper is asking for area residents to help document rising sea levels around Humboldt Bay by taking photos over the next few days for its
King Tide Photo Initiative, which has been ongoing since 2011.

To participate, snap a shot with a camera or smartphone and submit the photos to [email protected].


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