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King Tides are Holding Court on the Coast!



Plan a storm-watching trip to Newport and watch these incredible high tides grow and build out in the ocean and then erupt and crash onto the seashore! King Tides are the highest and most spectacular winter tides to make landfall each year when powerful offshore storms merge with high tides to surge ashore and burst onto rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. Winter storms generally occur between November and March, when dark squalls crash inland and release tremendous gusts of wind, rain, thunder, and even lightning. When the moon is new or full during these tremendous storms, King Tides are formed.


Storm watchers already witnessed incredible King Tides earlier this winter, and the next rounds are predicted to take place this January 20-22. Come watch the monstrous white-capped King Tides swell, crest, and then roll inland. Framed against a backdrop of ominous black clouds or gray sky, these pounding breakers gather strength as they steadily rush ashore. Hear the roar of the waves crashing onto the beach and against the rocks, as the thunder cracks between sea and sky and the sideways rain pounds the surf and sand. You won’t forget the geysers of seawater shooting straight up out of the ocean with a force rarely seen.


During these storms, winds can exceed 50 miles an hour, and waves can grow to be 30 feet tall, so always be aware of your surroundings and never turn your back on the ocean. The US Coast Guard advises against watching storms from the beach itself because King Tides can rush over 100 feet inland and can quickly overtake normal high-water marks. Watch for sneaker waves that surge further up the beach than expected without notice and can be extremely dangerous. If you choose to observe these incredible storms above one of our many local beaches, be sure to bring rain gear and durable shoes or boots with non-skid soles. Always stay a safe distance away from the beach, keep your distance from logs that have drifted inland, and establish a safe route away from your location.


King Tides are visible from almost everywhere on the coast, but rocky outcroppings, headlands, and peninsulas are the best spots to watch them. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, Otter Rock, and Seal Rock are perfectly situated to experience the full force that King Tides will deliver, although anywhere above the beach will provide an amazing vantage point. The rock wall at the Nye Beach turnaround is one of those places; it is insulated from the incoming tide, but also allows an unobstructed view of the Pacific. Another great viewpoint is the turnout on Old Highway 101, just above Agate Beach State Park.


You may want to watch the storm from one of our many beachfront restaurants that offer panoramic views of the coastline, where you can enjoy the King Tides during an amazing seafood meal, or over drinks and snacks. Or enjoy the storm from the warmth and comfort of your own hotel room, preferably snuggled up in a fluffy chair in front of the window. No matter where you watch the King Tides from, we’re sure that you’ll be so captivated and awestruck that you’ll want to return to watch future storms like these!


Photo Credit Edward Louie.

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