Supermoon elevates tides, minor beach flooding possible

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SAN DIEGO -- Astronomical high tides, influenced by a full moon, are prompting a National Weather Service Beach Hazards Statement through Wednesday morning.

High tides on Tuesday around 8:47 a.m., ranging 6.8' to 7.1' above sea level, in addition to moderate wave heights forecasted 2' 4' Tuesday and 3'-5' Wednesday could flood low-lying beach areas like the South Mission Beach Jetty, La Jolla Shores and the Oceanside Strand.

High tides on Wednesday are expected to peak near 7' by 9:30 a.m., prompting additional tidal overflows into beach parking lots and other low-lying areas.

Similar to the annual winter "King Tides," the closer proximity of our current supermoon phase is aiding tidal fluctuation, in the range of nearly 8 feet through Wednesday.  It's the extreme tidal fluctuation that is increasing rip tide strength, which can spell trouble to an average ocean swimmer.

The "King Tides" will arrive December 13 and 14, and return January 10, 11 and 12, coinciding with the next winter full moon series.   The gravitational pull of the moon and sun cause a planetary tidal bulge.  The moon's influence is greatest, responsible for about tow-thirds of the gravitational force on our tides, with the sun making-up the other one-third.

The December King Tides will have the additional influence of the third series of "supermoons," referring to its abnormally closer proximity to Earth compared to other full moon periods.

The moon's closer proximity to Earth is caused by an elliptical lunar orbit, who's closest approach is known as perigee.  The last time the moon was this close to the Earth was back in 1948.  Currently, our distance to the moon is just over 220,000 miles, about 5,000 miles closer than the average lunar distance of 225,000 miles, or perigee distance.

 

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