Note from Kate Poss: following the Dec. 26, 2022 king tide, which flooded low-lying coastal areas in Island County and throughout the state, Island County Commissioner 1 Melanie Bacon posted a weekly newsletter Jan. 4, 2023 on king tides. Another king tide is predicted for Jan. 21-24, 2023. Here are some helpful tips Commissioner Bacon shared regarding staying informed, protecting our homes, and being prepared. I have her permission to reprint the newsletter.
A king tide, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration–NOAA– is defined as “a non-scientific term people often use to describe exceptionally high tides. Tides are long-period waves that roll around the planet as the ocean is “pulled” back and forth by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun as these bodies interact with the Earth in their monthly and yearly orbits. 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.”
A combination of exceptionally high tides (also known as king tides), low barometric pressure, and heavy rains brought some of the worst flooding to Island County in December 2022. Many of our residents sustained substantial damage to their property and possessions due to the tidal flooding. Another round of “king tides” are expected to occur January 22nd through the 24th. There are things that you can do to prepare for potential flooding.
There are many different weather sites and apps that you can refer to. One of our favorites for tide predictions is NOAA Tides and Currents. To use this chart, select your location and change the dates, then select “Plot Daily”.
You can also receive alerts about weather and other hazards through the Island County Emergency Notification System. When signing up, select to receive all severe weather alerts. Alerts from the National Weather Service will automatically be forwarded to you. You may also download the MyAlerts app to your phone to receive notifications.
Protect Your Home
There are many retrofitting projects you can do to mitigate flood damage. Some of these include elevation, barrier systems, wet flood proofing, and dry flood proofing. These can be found in the FEMA Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting; 6 Ways to Protect Your Home from Flooding. These can take time, money, and permitting, so doesn’t help us prepare for potential flooding in a couple of weeks.
Some steps you can take now include:
- Anchor outdoor fuel tanks. Unanchored fuel tanks may move with floodwaters and cause extensive and serious damage.
- Make sure any drainage is clear and water can flow away from your property. Clear as much loose debris away from home to prevent further damage.
- Move any valuables well above the flood stage or to a safer location. Ensure you have good documentation and photos of your possessions for insurance claims.
- Install sump pumps to draw water away from your home. Ensure they have a battery backup in case of power failure. Activate any other flood protection devices.
- Make sure your septic system is on good order prior to expected heavy rains and flooding. If needed, have a qualified technician look at it for recommendations on avoiding problems.
- Elevate major appliances on concrete blocks, if possible, to avoid damage.
- Utilize temporary flood barriers, such as sandbags, flood skirts, or inflatable flood walls. There are many local and online retailers who sell sandbags and other barriers. Some that we checked include Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Amazon, and Uline
More Preparedness Tips:
- Move your vehicle to high ground before the king tide event.
- Review your flood insurance policy or consider getting one.
- Make a flood safety plan.
- Identify evacuation routes.
If you find yourself or loved ones in danger, please call 9-1-1.
For more information about Floods and how to prepare for them visit our Island County Emergency Management website. Click here to go directly to the “Flood” webpage.
You can also watch NOAA’s 43-minute YouTube video to learn more about king tides. Thank you, Elliott Menashe of Greenbelt Consulting, for sending us the link.