California King Tides expected in San Diego this weekend

The extreme high and low tides are forecast to hit San Diego’s shorelines Saturday, Jan. 21, and Sunday, Jan. 22. 🌊

SD Scripps La Jolla tide pools King Tides

The tide pools in La Jolla during past King Tides.

Photo via Erik Jepsen + UC San Diego

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California King Tidesexceptionally high tides caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun during a new or full moon — are expected to hit San Diego’s shorelines this Saturday and Sunday. Let’s dive into our region’s exact tide times and how you can learn more, locally, about the phenomenon.

SD King tides La Jolla tide pools

Annual King Tides bring the highest and lowest tides of the year.

Photo via Erik Jepsen + UC San Diego

Tide Times

According to predictions for Scripps Pier in La Jolla, the highest tides expected this weekend are:

  • 6.96 ft | Saturday, Jan. 21, at 8:03 a.m.
  • 6.93 ft | Sunday, Jan. 22, at 8:50 a.m.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is keeping an eye on tides, predicting these stats for other local areas including:

King Tides also bring extremely low tides, which NOAA is charting in its predictions, too.

🌊 What is happening here?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, King Tides typically occur once or twice a year in coastal areas “when the orbits and alignment of the Earth, moon, and sun combine to produce the greatest tidal effects of the year.”

King Tides can cause local flooding and paint a picture of how sea level rise will affect coastal areas over time.

Scripps UCSD PHD students at tide pools

Scripps Institution of Oceanography Ph.D. students Anaí Novoa and Danielle McHaskell check out the critters at the tide pools in La Jolla.

Photo via Erik Jepsen + UC San Diego

✏️ Learning from the King Tides

Since King Tides help researchers visualize the future of our shorelines, Surfrider Foundation San Diego is calling for volunteers to observe and document this weekend’s tides at county beaches.

Meanwhile, the California King Tides Project is also seeking photos and videos of the shorelines during the phenomenon to add to this interactive map.

King Tides-related events happening locally this weekend include:

  • King Tides at the Mission Bay Marsh | Saturday, Jan. 21 | 7:30-10 a.m. | Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve, 2055 Pacific Beach Dr.
  • King Tides at the Tijuana Estuary | Saturday, Jan. 21 | 9-11 a.m. | Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center, 301 Caspian Way
  • King Tides at South Ponto Beach | Sunday, Jan. 22 | 8:30 a.m. | South Ponto Beach, Carlsbad
  • King Tides at Rose Creek Salt Marsh | Sunday, Jan. 22 | 8:30-9:45 a.m. | Bayview Terrace Elementary School parking lot, 2445 Fogg St.

Birch Aquarium will host guided tide pooling adventures in La Jolla this weekend, though Saturday and Sunday are sold out. A rep for the aquarium tells SDtoday additional tide pooling opportunities with Birch experts are available later this winter, just check the facility’s schedule.

🏝️ Beach Hazard Statement

In anticipation of the King Tides, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Beach Hazards Statement, in effect Friday night through the morning of Monday, Jan. 23, for San Diego County beaches.

The NWS said morning high tides could lead to minor tidal overflow, especially in parking lots or low-lying beaches including Oceanside, Cardiff, La Jolla Shores, and Imperial Beach. It’s best to stay out of the water and observe from afar.

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