Metro Vancouver municipalities are gearing up for an anticipated seasonal King Tide that could bring flooding to some low-lying coastal areas next week.
King Tides occur when the sun and moon’s gravitational forces reinforce each other, in periods when the moon is closest to the Earth. They occur twice a year, but tend to be more pronounced during winter months.
LISTEN: Protecting Delta from flooding
King Tides can reach as high as five metres in elevation, about a metre higher than a normal high tide.
The next King Tide is forecast to take place between Dec.5 and Dec. 9. The B.C. Storm Surge Forecasting System also anticipates possible extreme tide levels in January and February.
The effects can be dramatic. In 2012, a King Tide coupled with a storm surge saw noticeable flooding around Vancouver’s Kitsilano pool, the Stanley Park Seawall and Locarno Beach.
In 2014, a King Tide forced the declaration of a state of emergency in Delta, when it combined with large waves to breach a part of the city’s seawall.
WATCH: State of emergency declared in Delta in 2014
Speaking on CKNW’s The Jill Bennett Show, Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said officials are still waiting to see if heavy winds will combine with the tide to cause problems this year.
“We have our forces out and, if needed, we have them on 24-hour dike watch and it’s something we’re quite used to. We just don’t know whether it will happen or not or to what extent,” she said.
“In the meantime, we’ve put up our temporary sand berm with the lock block installations. It really helps slow down the surge if one comes to the shore. Certainly we’ve got sandbags and the sand’s ready in all the key locations.”
In Vancouver, the city’s engineering department has also installed a sandbag berm along Locarno Beach, which will remain in place until around mid-February.
From 2015: Workers prepare for ‘King Tide’
The City of Vancouver has also incorporated the annual King Tide events into its planning for future sea level rise.
READ MORE: King Tide expected to hit Delta this morning
Residents are encouraged to take photos of the extreme tides and submit them to the city in order to “track sea level rise and improve our understanding of the changing shoreline.”
The city says it has also undertaken long-term measures to prepare for rising sea levels, including updating its building bylaw to include floodplain standards and incorporating coastal flood risk information into all new coastline projects.
-With files from Yuliya Talmazan