‘King Tide’ leads to record-breaking tides & flooding along the Cape Fear coast

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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear experiences King Tides every year when the moon is closest to the earth, causing an increase in tide levels. But the Wilmington National Weather Service says this year’s King Tide was elevated thanks to the right ingredients coming together.

“At the same time as we had these King Tides, we had this non-tropical low form right off our coast,” Victoria Oliva with the Wilmington NWS said. “We had above average astronomical tides along with a strong low offshore that pushed water towards the coast.”

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Saturday morning, Wrightsville Beach recorded its highest tide on record not caused by a tropical system.

Oliva says although flooding was bad, it could’ve been a lot worse.

“We actually were expecting a little bit higher on Sunday morning,” Oliva said. “So we’re very grateful it didn’t get into the moderate flooding that we were originally expecting. I think the low was a little slightly more offshore.”

The tidal flooding blocked off many roadways for hours at a time, leading to some damage in a few locations.

“We heard about some vehicle damage in Carolina Beach due to coastal flooding,” Oliva added. “Someone in Wrightsville Beach told us it’s the worst he’s seen in about 35 years.”

Oliva says conditions will gradually improve as the area of low pressure pulls further away, but we could still see affects for a few days.

“Tides this morning were slightly lower than yesterday,” Oliva said. “Then tomorrow morning you might see one final round of minor flooding. But I believe by Wednesday we should be good.”

Many scientists believe events like this weekend’s could begin to happen more often, as climate change leads to rising sea levels.