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PHOTOS: 'King Tide' Spurs Coastal Flooding From Charleston, SC, to Tybee Island, Ga.

By By Kevin Byrne, Staff Writer
October 30, 2015, 5:49:49 AM EDT

Strong coastal flooding caused by a 'king tide' resulted in street closures and property damage across parts of South Carolina and Georgia Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

A 'king tide' is an annual high tide produced by the orbits and alignments of the Earth, Moon and Sun. This, paired with strong winds off the ocean, helped to cause the flooding.

Tides peaked at 8.69 feet Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) in Charleston Harbor, the fourth highest tide recorded since records began in 1921, the National Weather Service in Charleston said. Major coastal flooding at this location typically occurs when gauge levels reach 8 feet.

The MLLW is the average of the lower low water height of each tidal day observed over the National Tidal Datum Epoch, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

'King Tide' Sweeps Tybee Island


Emergency officials in Charleston asked travelers to avoid travel onto the peninsula due to the flooding until the tide began to recede. Wind gusts up to 25 mph were reported in the city along with a light rainfall throughout the day. Additionally, the city had extra water due to continued runoff from flooding earlier this month.

Law enforcement in the town of Edisto Beach, South Carolina, reported that 20 homes suffered flood damage as well as two businesses. A disaster recovery center was opened in Colleton County to assist residents who were impacted.


In Georgia, tides peaked at 10.43 feet MLLW, at the Ft. Pulaski river tide gauge near Fort Screven, good for the third highest reading at the gauge since records began in 1935. Major tidal flooding typical begins when the gauge reads 10 feet MLLW.

Many areas of South Carolina are still recovering from the catastrophic and historic flooding event that inundated the state earlier this month. According to the South Carolina Department of Transportation, 32 bridges and 73 roads remain closed.

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