EDMONDS, Wash. -- The City of Edmonds will have sandbags out and ready through the weekend when abnormally high tides and rain may add up to flooding.
It's a once a year or two phenomenon, but forecasters predict "king tides" in Washington this coming weekend and again in mid-February. King tides are exceptionally high tides that coincide with the strongest gravitational pulls from the moon and sun.
Those higher than normal tides may cause minor flooding in lowlands that usually remain dry. But compounded with wet weather over the next few days, any significant rainfall could cause more damage than just the normal ebb and flow of the tide.
All of this means the City of Edmonds is taking action now.
"High tides alone don't cause a problem," says Edmonds Public Works Director Phil Williams. "When we have high tides combined with heavy rain, we get ponded water across Highway 104 down to Dayton Avenue."
Williams doesn't want a repeat of flooding that occurred December 13, when he says there was enough water to canoe down Dayton Avenue. Fortunately, the rain didn't overlap with an abnormally high tide then.
According to Williams, the areas of most concern are SR 104 coming from the Edmonds ferry terminal, Dayton Avenue, and the Harbor Square business complex.
"Water can get inside structures in Harbor Square," says Williams. "Combined with winds, it's even worse."
Edmonds Public Works officials have also been in contact with a water pump rental company, so that should flooding occur over the next few days, they have the tools they need at the ready.
The city will also be closely watching the stormwater system, which could get backed up if enough rain falls.
That's why sandbags are already available at the City of Edmonds Public Works Department during business hours, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Outside of business hours, some sandbags will be available at the facilities, located at 7110 210th St. SW.
Another kings tide is predicted the third week in February. The City of Edmonds says they will make sandbags available to residents then, as well.
If you ask around Mukilteo, most people say it's nothing to get excited about.
In 2003, high tides were fanned by powerful winds which tore apart the Ivars Waterfront Restaurant. Since then, Ivars reinforced the building and has survived several more high tide events without damage.
Even with this weekend's king tides expected to be two feet higher, without wind, the folks at Ivars are keeping "clam" as they like to say.
According to the Department of Ecology, Edmonds is predicted to have the third highest kings tides this weekend. Olympia and Bremerton are predicted to have high tides between 13 and 16 feet.