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Samoan coastal communities to experience King Tides

The “King tides” Samoa has been experiencing is all part of earth’s orbiting process, says Samoa Meteorology Office Acting Chief Executive Officer, Tile Tofaeono.

“When the sun, Earth and moon align, this causes gravity pull from the moon and sun, causing highest tides or ‘king tides’ – which is a ‘palagi’ term which describes the highest level of the tides – but in normal terms it’s called ‘spring tide’,” he said, in an interview with Samoa Observer. 

According to the acting CEO, this natural phenomenon occurs every 14 days of each month and is a cycle. The tides hit their highest point on Wednesday evening due to some factors, causing flooding and extreme sea level rising in low lying coastal areas.

“In fact, this is not the highest tide of the year, but it’s the highest tide of the month. What happened on Wednesday was, there was a full moon, and king tides which was coupled with ‘northerly swells’,” he said.

“These swells are a part of a high pressure system, generated from far north, past Hawaii. The same way the south also has high pressure systems with southerly swells, but at the moment, northerly swells are dominating.

“So full moon, spring tide and northerly swells put together, this doubled it and made it significant, which worsened the effects and impacts,” added Mr. Tofaeono.

He confirmed this high tide combination to be the reason behind the movement of the sea towards homes in low lying villages in the coastal area.

He said the whole northern side of the island was affected by the natural phenomenon. 

“Although this happens all the time when the time is high, the water comes in affects, it is a natural process but this time of the year, too bad it’s coupled with the northerly swells. We’re not too sure how Savaii is dealing with it but now we have seen it here from Upolu, the tides have been very high,” he added.

The next King Tides are expected again next month around Wednesday, March 20 at 5.54pm.

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