WHATCOM ­— A tide of at least 10.1 feet at Cherry Point, the county’s official tide station, is termed a King Tide locally. 

The term is often used 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 force of both 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.

In Whatcom County, particular attention is paid to King Tides that occur in the late fall/early winter since many of these times these coincide with, and can be aggravated by, seasonal wind storms. This has resulted in significant impacts on coastal communities, as when Birch Bay and Blaine were hit in December 2018 with over $5 million in damage from a King Tide and wind storm. 

Over the next month or so, Whatcom County will have these King Tides:

Date Height Time

Dec. 3010.1 0704

Dec. 3110.2 0737

Jan. 110.3 0813

Jan. 210.3 0846

Jan. 310.2 0919

Jan. 410.1 0951

Jan. 510.1 1021

Jan. 1210.4 0605

Jan. 1310.6 0645

Jan. 1410.6 0722

Jan. 1510.5 0758

Jan. 1610.2 0831

Jan. 2910.1 0706

Jan. 3010.1 0733

Jan. 3110.1 0800

Feb. 110.1 0827

For those who are tide watchers, these are pretty impressive tides, states the Whatcom County Emergency Management websit. What happened in the 2018 storm to make them much worse was that the tides were pushed nearly two feet higher by storm pressure (called storm surge) and then the west wind added another 3-4 feet of waves.