Prepare for King Tides and Storm Surges Starting This Week

From now until January, it is predicted that Victoria will experience higher than normal storm surges caused by high winds which push waves onshore. The combination of King Tides and storm surges will result in higher than normal water levels.

King Tides are forecasted for Wednesday, November 25 and Thursday, November 26, and again from December 22 to 25. A King Tide is an especially high tide (over 3.1 metres) that results when the sun and moon are in alignment; they happen a few times per year and are most dramatic during the winter.

There are also a higher number of 2.8 metre + high tide days predicted throughout this winter. A storm surge consists of waves that are pushed onshore from high winds in storms. With this year being an El Nino year, a warming phase, there will be more intense storms. When storms occur during high tides, they can cause coastal flooding and erosion.

King Tides can be a great opportunity for storm watching along Dallas Road. Residents interested in storm watching are reminded to do so from  a safe distance due to the heightened risks of coastal erosion and seawall collapse caused by strong winds and waves. For safety, some pathways and beaches may not be accessible during these days. There is a higher likelihood of pooling and flooding in the low-lying coastal areas around James Bay and Fairfield.

King Tides and storm surges may also be accompanied by periods of intense rainfall. Residents and businesses can prepare for the rainy season by ensuring gutters are clear of debris, and perimeter drains are operating effectively. Those who have sump pumps are encouraged to test them in advance of forecasted storms, and consider investing in battery-powered backups to prevent sump pump failures caused by storm-induced power outages.

Although many leaves have already come down and leaf collection is well underway, heavy winds and rain continue to drop leaves amongst the City’s 6,700 catch basins, and can create water pooling. Residents can help by monitoring nearby drains, catch basins, and gutters, and by raking away any blockages.

One objective of the City’s Strategic Plan is to plan for emergencies including climate change. The City is looking at adjusting the base building elevations for some coastal properties and properties in other low-lying areas at greater risk of flooding. The City is also reviewing drainage systems in higher flood risk areas. This work is underway and is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

Additional details about storm surges can be found in the 2015-2016 Storm Surge Almanac.