A king tide is a non-scientific term people often use to describe exceptionally high tides. King tides are the highest predicted ocean tides of the year which occur at new and full moons when the gravitational pull of both the sun and moon is at its highest. This weekend, king tides are predicted to occur between Feb. 9 and Feb. 12. This means the tide will exceed its average daily high tide of 10 feet, and reach 11 to 11.4 feet.

King tides are the highest predicted ocean tides of the year which occur at new and full moons when the gravitational pull of both the sun and moon is at its highest. Brianna Soukup file/Press Herald

Our city is no stranger to unusually high tides. Due to climate change and rising sea levels, high tides are reaching higher and extending farther inland than in the past, which we experienced last month with record-breaking high water levels and coastal flooding during the storms. As South Portland is projected to have 1.5 feet of sea level rise by 2050, our coastal community will need to prepare for the impacts set forth by high tides.

To see a visual of predicted sea level rise and its impact on our neighborhoods, explore the “Preparing for Coastal Flooding in South Portland” story map tool at https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/0ad7f5ab36a24a158a1a98a7ee9f9a57.

Building coastal resilience: How you can help

South Portland is paving the way to ensure that neighborhoods can anticipate, accommodate, and positively adapt to a changing climate through our climate action plan One Climate Future, which identifies a series of initiatives to build local climate resilience. To learn more, visit oneclimatefuture.org.

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) is working with municipalities through its Coastal Flooding Citizen Science project, which asks residents to contribute observations that will help pinpoint high-risk flooding areas in our community. Through this program, community members can identify the weather and water level conditions during flooding events. Collectively, these data will help us ground-truth our models and inform future decisions that will build community resilience. Send your observations to https://investigate.gmri.org/project/coastal_flooding/.


City to hold storm damage/coastal resiliency workshop on Feb. 13

The city will hold a storm damage/coastal resiliency workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. at the South Portland High School Lecture Hall (637 Highland Ave.) and invites the public to attend. Topics covered will include discussing cleanup efforts and initiating a storm recovery planning process concerning the recent storm and astronomical high tide which caused damage at two of the city’s most popular parks, Bug Light Park and Willard Beach.

For more information, visit www.southportland.org/contact-us/updates/press-releases/01-24-24/.

[Footer] Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram @soposustainability.

Jenna d’Arcy is an AmeriCorps/GPCOG Resilience Corps fellow serving in the South Portland Sustainability Office through September 2024. She can be reached at jdarcy@southportland.org.

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