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Last chance of the season to view king tides on the Oregon coast

Beach goers can view them between Friday, Jan. 20 and Sunday, Jan. 22.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Haven't had the chance yet to see the king tides along the Oregon coast? The high tides will return this weekend for the final time this season. Beach goers can view them between Friday, Jan. 20 and Sunday, Jan. 22.

King tides can pose a greater hazard when the timing of them coincides with a strong storm system, but that isn't the case this weekend.

"This weekend, the king tides will act alone, meaning no strong weather fronts or high storm seas as we have seen with previous king tide events," said KGW meteorologist Rod Hill.

Click here to view the tide map

The current marine forecasts predict swells coming in no higher than 11 feet, according to Hill. Anyone planning to catch a glimpse of the exceptionally high tides should be careful near the waves and be aware of their surroundings.

"To be clear, the tide will be high and crashing waves over the jetties will be a marvelous sight from a safe distance," Hill said.

The Oregon King Tides Project documents the effect extreme tide events have on the state's beaches and coastal waterways, including erosion and flooding. The organization is organizing a photo contest where people can submit their king tide photos for the 2022-2023 season.

What are king tides?

A king tide is a non-scientific term used to describe particularly high tides, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They occur when the Earth, moon and the sun are all aligned, creating a strong gravitational pull. 

King tides are also popularly known as spring tides. The term has nothing to do with the spring season, and instead refers to the springing forth motion of the tides.

"Higher than normal tides typically occur during a new or full moon and when the moon is at its perigee, or during specific seasons around the country," according to NOAA's website.

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