New Round of King Tides on the Way: How to Prepare

Manitou Beach flood by Shea Kennedy“King tide” is the popular name given to higher than normal ocean tides that typically happen during a full or new moon or during certain seasons. Recent king tides on the island flooded Manitou Beach Road and the yards of nearby homes on December 9 and then again on January 12. As happened on those days, with rising ocean levels caused by climate change, our king tides are expected to increase in reach.

Now is a good time to prepare for the next round of high tides, expected between January 21 and 27, with the peak on the 24th. If you live on the coast, here are things you can do to prepare:

  • Move vehicles to higher ground before the storm surge.
  • If your vehicle gets salty ocean water on it, hose it down with fresh water.
  • Elevate any items in your yard or on decks and patios that could be washed away by the storm surge. Think about lawn furniture, paint cans, chemicals, auto supplies, pots, and tools.
  • Make sure that any livestock are safe from the surge.
  • Do not walk through the flood water as it represents a health hazard. If you must, then wash your hands, clothes, and pets after encountering the water.
  • Do not drive through flooded areas as you could be washed awayand/or your vehicle could be damaged. Turn around; don’t drown.
  • High tides result in lower clearance under bridges. Boaters should take extra precautions.
  • Pick up sand bags in preparation. You can get them at the City’s Operations and Maintenance facility on Hidden Cove Road at Highway 305. The bags are available outside the gate. Please limit what you take to 10 bags per household.
  • Don’t eat food that has come into contact with floodwater. Don’t harvest shellfish from shorelines during and for at least five days after flooding.
  • If your well is flooded, use bottled water that has been stored less than six months in tightly sealed containers OR disinfect the well water. Alternatively, boil your tap water (after filtering it if it’s cloudy) on high for at least 1 minute. You can store the boiled water by adding two drops of household bleach (dye- and perfume-free) per gallon.
  • Your septic system might get flooded. If you’re going to be out of town, please tell a neighbor how to turn off your septic alarm so that it doesn’t sound the whole time you are away (which happened on the island in December).
  • If your septic system gets flooded, lower your water use to give it a chance to dry out so that sewage doesn’t back up in your home.
  • When the surge happens, if you see damage, report it via SeeClickFix here. 

Manitou Beach flood by Shea KennedyImages of Manitou Beach’s December king tide courtesy of Shea Kennedy.


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