King tides in South Florida

If you have been near the intracoastal or ocean in the recent days, then you probably have noticed the water levels being extremely high at times. These extremely high tides are known as “king tides”. King tides are technically called “perigean spring tides,” but they occur in both the spring and fall seasons. In fact, the highest tides in southeast Florida occur in the fall, in part because the water is warmer and the seasonal winds drive water levels higher at this time of year.

What causes the king tides?

These super high tides occur when the moon makes its closest approach to the earth. During this time, seasonal changes in weather and currents combine to generate tides that can rise more than a foot higher than normal. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the king tide periods this year run from September 15-21, October 14-21 and November 13-18. In addition to higher water levels rising above docks and seawalls, it is quite common to see these water levels rise through storm drains. This causes some severe flooding along many streets.

What should you do?

If you live on the water, you will want to make sure that you bring any items such as furniture, dock equipment, or other loose items up to higher ground. In addition, you may also want to have any electrical wiring at your dock or seawall checked after the king tides subside. It is quite common for electrical wiring, outlets, and other items to be damaged due to the saltwater intrusion. If you are driving your vehicle through flooded streets due to the king tides, you may also want to rinse the bottom of your vehicle with freshwater afterwards.

Waterfront property owners are encouraged to build their seawall caps and docks as high as local permitting codes allow. After all, it easy to spot original seawalls during these tides as they are likely completely underwater.

Lastly, if you are a boat owner with your vessel docked on the water, you will want to account for the additional tide heights when tying off the dock to ensure proper mooring. The severity of the flooding will vary by area. If you are searching for a waterfront home to purchase, viewing properties during these peak ideas is also recommended.


REALTOR® with Live South Florida Realty, Inc.