King Tides, black moon

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Sea Scouts Commodore Larry Richardson wades through a submerged portion of the catwalk at Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor Thursday afternoon after a portion of the pier was inundated with the King Tide enhanced by storm surge from Tropical Storm Erick and breezy trade winds.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Stan Morinaka wades through a submerged portion of the catwalk at Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor Thursday afternoon. The King Tide was enhanced by storm surge from Tropical Storm Erick and breezy trade winds.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Lela Oga, Kiara and Kala‘i Lemons play in the waves breaking onto the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor parking lot Thursday afternoon from the King Tides enhanced with storm surge from Tropical Storm Erick and breezy trade winds.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A small boat operator secures his craft at Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor Thursday, left, and Lela Oga, Kala‘i and Kiara Lemons have fun on the piers submerged by King Tides enhanced by storm surge from Tropical Storm Erick and breezy trade winds.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden lsland

    Lela Oga, Kala‘i and Kiara Lemons have fun on the submerged pier at the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor Thursday during the King Tide that was enhanced by storm surge from Tropical Storm Erick and breezy trade winds.

LIHUE — Another set of the year’s highest tides reached the archipelago Wednesday and Thursday, combined with swells from incoming Tropical Storm Erick and the beginning of a “black moon.”

Storm swells combined with King Tides Wednesday and Thursday. Tides reached 2.64 feet above normal in Hanalei Bay at 3:38 p.m. and are forecast to be at 2.53 feet at 4:18 p.m. today.

At Nawiliwili, tides reached 2.46 feet at 4:39 p.m. Thursday and today are predicted to reach 2.36 feet at 5:19 p.m. Tides at Port Allen reached 2.41 feet at 5:04 p.m. on Thursday and were predicted to reach 2.19 feet at 5:43 p.m. today. Waimea reached 2.03 feet at 5:26 p.m. on Thursday and tides are predicted to reach 1.88 feet on Friday at 6:06 p.m.

The scientific name for a King Tide is a perigean spring tide, and they coincide with full and new moons. Thursday was the first of two new moons in August — a rare occurrence known as a “black moon.”

According to University of Hawaii Sea Grant, King Tides show up when the moon is at its closest point to the Earth during its monthly orbit, and when the sun, moon and Earth are in alignment, combining their gravitational pulls.

Coastal geologists say they are not an unusual phenomenon, rather they are natural tides that got a flashy name.

“It’s just a larger tide that occasionally enhances the impact of the waves,” said coastal geologist Chuck Blay, who has been particularly studying Kauai’s Westside coasts. “It’s a natural occurrence. Someone just put the ‘King Tides’ (label) on it.”

While the tides are natural, they’re up against a backdrop of slow sea-level change, Blay pointed out, which can cause unusual flooding and other events.

“It’s not an unusual phenomenon, just an unusual combination of normal events,” he said.

That increase in sea-level rise has been documented by scientists, and that documentation has led to legislation and the creation of commissions on climate change in Hawaii.

1 Comments
  1. Midge A Swanson August 2, 2019 6:09 am Reply

    As much as I dearly love your heavenly isle, I had to smile at this article about the tides. My mother was born and raised in Eastport, ME, which is at the tip of the Bay of Fundy, the most NE city in the USA. The tides there average 20 – 30 FEET per day! In Spring, it’s in the low 20’s. In Fall it’s closer to 30, and in a Fall storm, it’s above that! Also, between Moose Island and Deer Island in Canada lies “Old Sow”, the largest whirlpool in the Western hemisphere. My great grandmother remembers it swallowing 3 masted schooners during a Fall storm. I was privileged to live there for a while as a small child & have always called it home. In its own way it’s as beautiful as your lovely island.

    Kauai & Maine – my 2 favorite places in this wonderful big country, so different from each other yet each as beautiful as the other in her own way. If you are interested in learning more , grab your computer or visit the library & do a little research. You might understand why both places own such a big part of my heart!


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