King tides prompt flood warnings for coastal areas

The phenomenon known as the "King Tides" is back and that's prompting forecasters to issue flood warnings for coastal regions of the Bay Area.

The dramatic high tides are expected through 3 p.m. Tuesday. But the high tides aren't keeping surfers away. At Pacifica's Linda Mar beach, a wetsuit-clad Ryan Schendel waxed his surfboard 

"They're finally getting the winter swells and like yeah, it's supposed to be like seven or eight feet ," said Schendel.

Schendel and friend, Will Sharpless, weren't sure how that might affect their ride.

"Since I've just learned about the king tides and how they coordinate with the supermoon, I'm excited it might mean a better surf today, but it honestly doesn't look any different from usual," said Sharpless.

In fact, KTVU's meteorologist Bill Martin, who is an avid surfer, says the king tides create more moving water and therefore, nasty rip currents that make surfing less desirable.

King tides are simply higher than usual tides, not caused by sea level rise, but rather by the gravitational pulls of the sun and moon reinforcing each other.

Scientists say they can help us brace for climate change and visualize where the Bay's shoreline is vulnerable to rising water.

"[If it were] high tide, we would not be standing here because the water would be splashing up here already," said James Savage of Placerville, who headed to Rockaway Beach to eat lunch and gaze at the white foamy caps with his brother. 

Around 11 a.m., visitors at the parking lot at Nick's Restaurant had to dodge huge sprays of water.
But along San Francisco's Embarcadero, no flooding, unlike previous years where heavy rains and high winds exacerbated flooding.

Scientists caution the large winter swells and king tides coupled together wreak havoc on coastal areas, speeding up the erosion process.

The Great Highway and parts of Northern Daly City have seen chunks of land simply wash away.
The highest tides are expected at Point Reyes National Seashore, Monterey bay and Big Sur.