Crews are filling sandbags and placing them in low-lying areas near Locarno Beach in Vancouver as so-called King Tides are expected at the end of the month.
Brian Crowe with the city says the high tides could reach 4.9 meters, threatening to flood homes on North West Marine Drive.
“In 2012 the park was flooded, the street was not but it was very close so we want to be sure we are protected and we avoid the possibility of the water crossing the street and going into the neighborhood.”
“What we’re preparing for here is the possibility of king tides coinciding with severe weather. And that can bring a storm surge and raises the water high enough to potentially flood the area that we’re stanting.”
That last happened in 2012, when the water level reached about 5.5 meters, breaching the sea wall and covering Kits pool.
Window into climate change
King Tides happen when the sun and moon’s gravitational fields reinforce each other, causing an extreme high tide. They occur twice a year, but tend to be more severe in winter.
But as sea levels rise with climate change, there is increasing concern they could become an annual problem.
Crowe says in the long term, for the city’s low lying beaches that could mean a raising the sidewalk, or even Marine Drive itself.
In the city of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan, it calls the events “a window into what a changing climate will look like locally.”
And the province, too has framed King Tides as a view into a potential future, and even launched a photography initiative last year encouraging citizens to take pictures of King Tide events to “visualize what normal sea levels may look like in the future.”
After this month’s round of King Tides, a second wave is expected just after Christmas.
City crews sand bagging in preparation for heavy rains and King Tides this winter at Locarno Beach this morning. pic.twitter.com/kCXotZM6T6
— City of Vancouver (@CityofVancouver) November 9, 2015