Bay Area shores — including those within San Francisco Bay — are expected to be hit with unusually high tides known as "king tides" for the next few days, according to the National Weather Service.
Meteorologist Logan Johnson said king tides are a natural phenomenon that occurs when a special alignment of the sun, moon and earth creates a particularly strong gravitational pull.
He said that in the Bay Area, the higher tidal period started Monday, Dec. 30, and is expected to last until Friday.
Johnson said the king tides could be especially noticeable in places like Marin County where there is a lot of development along local shorelines.
Water levels at high tide are expected to be a few inches to a foot higher than usual, and some flooding may occur, he said.
However, because of the dry weather so far this year, Johnson said water levels aren't expected to be dangerous and no warnings or advisories have been issued.
Areas of greatest concern during king tides include Bay-side tidal flats, creek mouths and built-up urban areas along the immediate coast, according to a U.S. Coast Guard press release.
"Typically the greatest buildup is right along the Bay shore," the release said.Beach-goers are advised to stay away from the shore during high tide and be aware of higher water levels along low-lying roads and trails, on docks, harbors, park-and-ride lots and in other flat, developed areas.
The Coast Guard reminds boaters to monitor their vessels at anchor and to check mooring lines at the pier to ensure vessels don't become a drifting hazard to other boaters during the expected higher-than-usual tides.
The California King Tides Initiative, a partnership between state and federal agencies and nonprofits, is asking residents to take photos of the effects of the high tides and send them in, as long as the photos can be taken safely.
The photos will help researchers study sea level rise as part of a project of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Estuarine Research Reserve System.
Photos can be submitted through the initiative's website at www.californiakingtides.org. Another period of king tides is expected to occur between Jan. 29 and 31.
For more about past king tides in Alameda and the San Francisco Bay Area, see:
Tidy-y Up Breakwater Beach
King Tides Will Disappear Beaches
Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.
Alameda Patch contributed to this article.
'Like' Alameda Patch on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter @AlamedaPatch / Share your thoughts in the comments section below