High Tide Bulletin: Winter 2017

When you may experience higher than normal tides from December 2017 to February 2018.

The rising and falling of the sea is a phenomenon upon which we can always depend. Tides are the regular rise and fall of the sea surface caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun and their position relative to the earth. There are some factors that cause the tides to be higher than what is "normally" seen from day to day. This bulletin tells you when you may experience higher than normal high tides from December 2017 to February 2018.

Regional outlook map

Select a region below to see when you may experience higher than normal tides from December 2017 to February 2018. Depending on non-tidal conditions (wind, storms, etc.) regions may experience impacts before or after the dates mentioned here.

NOTE: Higher than normal high tides alone do not necessarily cause coastal flooding. However, higher-than-normal high tides are becoming increasingly impactful due to continued sea level rise. High tide flooding that causes a nuisance along the coast (such as flooded streets, washed out beaches)  is more likely to occur during these periods depending on your location along the coast.  More severe flooding may result if adverse weather—heavy rains, strong wind, or big waves—conditions are present.  

West Coast Outlook

Includes California, Oregon, Washington State

When will the tides be higher than normal?

  • December 2 - 6, December 31 - January 4, January 29 - February 1

Why will they be higher than normal?

  • A perigean spring tide will be occurring. This is when the moon is either new or full and closest to earth, higher than normal high tides and lower than normal low tides will occur.
  • In the weeks leading up to and after the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) the increased angle of the sun relative to the Earth can cause higher tides.

What kind of impact might I expect along the coast?

  • Minor tidal flooding along the coast, in particular in low-lying areas.
  • If a storm occurs at this time, increased levels of tidal flooding and coastal erosion may occur.
  • Lower than normal low tides will also occur.

Where might I expect high tide flooding?

  • Areas near the stations at San Francisco, CA; La Jolla, CA; Humboldt Bay, CA; Toke Point, WA have the greatest chance of seeing high tide flooding.

Have a photo that shows coastal flooding in your region? Send it to us!

shadow for text box

Regional outlook (Text only)

Northeast outlook

Includes Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York

When will the tides be higher than normal?

  • December 3 - 6, January 2 - 3

Why will they be higher than normal?

  • A perigean spring tide will be occurring. This is when the moon is either new or full and closest to earth. Higher than normal high tides and lower than normal low tides will occur.

What kind of impact might I expect along the coast?

  • Due to the topography of the northeast (less low lying areas), tidal flooding alone will generally not have a significant impact on the coast, unless storms or strong winds are present.

Where might I expect high tide flooding?

  • Areas near the tide stations at Kings Point, NY, and Boston, MA, have the greatest chance of seeing high tide flooding.

Mid-Atlantic outlook

Includes New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia

When will the tides be higher than normal?

  • December 3 - 6, January 2 - 3, January 31 - February 1

Why will they be higher than normal?

  • A perigean spring tide will be occurring. This is when the moon is either new or full and closest to earth. Higher than normal high tides and lower than normal low tides will occur.

What kind of impact might I expect along the coast?

  • Minor tidal flooding along the coast, in particular in low-lying areas.
  • If a storm occurs at this time, increased levels of tidal flooding and coastal erosion may occur.
  • Lower than normal low tides will also occur.

Where might I expect high tide flooding?

  • Areas near the stations at Cape May, NJ; Lewes, DE; Atlantic City, NJ have the greatest chance of seeing high tide flooding.

Southeast outlook

Includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Eastern Florida coast

When will the tides be higher than normal?

  • December 2 - 6, January 2 - 3

Why will they be higher than normal?

  • A perigean spring tide will be occurring. This is when the moon is either new or full and closest to earth, higher than normal high tides and lower than normal low tides will occur.

What kind of impact might I expect along the coast?

  • Minor tidal flooding along the coast, in particular in low-lying areas.
  • If a storm occurs at this time, increased levels of tidal flooding and coastal erosion may occur.
  • Lower than normal low tides will also occur.

Where might I expect high tide flooding?

  • Areas near the stations at Fort Pulaski, GA; Charleston, SC; Beaufort, NC; and Wilmington, NC have the greatest chance of seeing high tide flooding.

Gulf Coast outlook

Includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Western Florida coast

When will the tides be higher than normal?

  • The Gulf Coast will not be significantly impacted.

Why won’t they be impacted?

  • In many locations of the Gulf Coast, the tidal range is relatively small compared to other regions of the U.S, so they will not be as significantly impacted by a perigean spring tide.

West Coast outlook

Includes California, Oregon, Washington State

When will the tides be higher than normal?

  • December 2 - 6, December 31 - January 4, January 29 - February 1

Why will they be higher than normal?

  • A perigean spring tide will be occurring. This is when the moon is either new or full and closest to earth, higher than normal high tides and lower than normal low tides will occur.
  • In the weeks leading up to and after the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) the increased angle of the sun relative to the Earth can cause higher tides.

What kind of impact might I expect along the coast?

  • Minor tidal flooding along the coast, in particular in low-lying areas.
  • If a storm occurs at this time, increased levels of tidal flooding and coastal erosion may occur.
  • Lower than normal low tides will also occur.

Where might I expect high tide flooding?

  • Areas near the stations at San Francisco, CA; La Jolla, CA; Humboldt Bay, CA; Toke Point, WA have the greatest chance of seeing high tide flooding.

Hawaii and the Pacific Islands outlook

Includes Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Midway, Kwajalein, and Wake Island

When will the tides be higher than normal?

  • December 3 - 6, December 31 - January 4, January 29 - February 2

Why will they be higher than normal?

  • A perigean spring tide will be occurring. This is when the moon is either new or full and closest to earth, higher than normal high tides and lower than normal low tides will occur.
  • In the weeks leading up to and after the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) the increased angle of the sun relative to the Earth can cause higher tides.

What kind of impact might I expect along the coast?

  • Minor tidal flooding along the coast, in particular in low-lying areas.
  • If a storm occurs at this time, increased levels of tidal flooding and coastal erosion may occur.
  • Lower than normal low tides will also occur.

ALASKA outlook

When will the tides be higher than normal?

  • December 2 - 7, December 31 - January 5, January 30 - February 1

Why will they be higher than normal?

  • A perigean spring tide will be occurring. This is when the moon is either new or full and closest to earth, higher than normal high tides and lower than normal low tides will occur.
  • In the weeks leading up to and after the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) the increased angle of the sun relative to the Earth can cause higher tides.

What kind of impact might I expect along the coast?

  • Due to the topography of Alaska (less low lying areas), tidal flooding will generally not have a significant impact on the coast unless there is a severe storm.