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Extremely high 'King Tides' will hit Oregon Coast

They will, no doubt, be really interesting to see, but they're also important when it comes to understanding the impact of rising sea levels.

This weekend, King Tides will once again hit the Oregon Coast.

These are extremely high tides that happen only a few times during the year. And they will likely be the biggest this season, with the storms expected to hit the coast this week.

The tides will come up two to four feet, possibly even five feet, higher than normal high tides.

High tide will generally occur between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. along the central and northern coast during the weekend. On Saturday, a storm will bring 30 foot swells to add to the impact of the high tides. Be careful walking on the beach.

The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Warning that will be in effect from 1 a.m. through 4 p.m. Saturday. Destructive waves may wash over beaches, jetties, and other structures, emergency officials warn.

They will, no doubt, be really interesting to see, but they're also important when it comes to understanding the impact of rising sea levels.

That's because they give researchers a glimpse of what the future might look like in coastal communities as the climate changes, glaciers melt, and sea levels rise.

January 10, 11 and 12 marks the third set of the winter King Tides.

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The tides happen every year in early winter along the Pacific Coast when the moon is closest to the earth.

"Normally they're two to four feet higher," said CoastWatch volunteer coordinator Jesse Jones. "If we get some good rain in there they could be up to five feet higher than normal high tide."

For the past 10 years, volunteers, also called citizen scientists, have been documenting these tides through photographs.

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They've snapped pictures of flooded parking lots, parks and pathways.

They've captured images of King Tide waters surrounding entire buildings.

Images of what our coast could one day look like.

"In the future our high tides will be a lot higher than they are now and, at least that's what's predicted, and when we see the King Tide, we get an idea of that that would be like on a daily occurrence," said Jones.

What started with just a handful of volunteers a decade ago, has now reached over 200.

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The initiative is called the Oregon King Tides Project. Margaret Minnick is volunteering for the first time this year.

"I can see maybe in the future this is going to impact my life more than it does now, so I think it's just a general interest way to increase awareness," she said.

More volunteers are needed to take photos of certain areas of the coast, including the Northern Oregon Coast, to document this phenomenon and help climate scientists get a glimpse into what could be.

If you're interested in taking photos of the King Tides, it's really easy to do so.

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The project's website will tell you how to take the photos, the best spots to take them and how to upload them.

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