King tides return with new moon this week

The waning crescent moon is pulling on the Earth’s great oceans, a tug that may bring minor coastal flooding when it becomes newly born Oct. 19.

The National Weather Service said higher tides – called king tides – are expected into the weekend, an annual event tied to seasonal tumult and lunar influence.

While the flooding is more nuisance than menace, it can be a problem for coastal residents, especially those along the Intracoastal, who may find some flooding into homes.

The seasonal shifts that bring the king tides include changes in winds, atmospheric pressure and a slowing of the Gulf Stream current that runs the length of Florida’s east coast.

“It’s a normal seasonal phenomenon,” said William Sweet, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “And it can be a change that’s as high as one foot in October and November.”

The greatest difference between high and low tide is around New Moon and Full Moon. During these Moon phases, the solar tide coincides with the lunar tide because the Sun and the Moon are aligned with Earth, and their gravitational forces combine to pull the ocean’s water in the same direction.

A bicyclist heads up Lake Trail in Palm Beach after it flooded Oct. 27, 2016 when water rushed in from the Intracoastal Waterway. A combination of the full moon, high tide, and sea level rise are blamed for the flooding. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

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