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Where was the king tide? No waves, strong winds as expected in B.C.

This king tide was tame.

After much concern over what a king tide would bring to B.C., it seems the cycle was quite tame and left things practically untouched. 

North Vancouver, Vancouver, Squamish and many surrounding areas all prepared for the king tide this week by putting up flood protection measures.

King tides are when the tides are at their strongest, at both their highest and lowest tide. They often occur between November and February, according to Armel Castellan, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The king tide, which was predicted to start on Jan. 21 and last until Jan. 26, did not bring strong winds and waves.

“We don't have very strong winds nor do we have these expected waves and so you can have a king tide cycle and no impacts,” says Armel. 

According to a Vancouver tides chart, the highest tide was at 7:53 a.m. on Jan. 23 at 16.26 feet. The lowest was on Jan. 23 at 12:26 a.m. at 0.66 feet. 

Armel explains how they can be mapped out through "celestial bodies because it's the moon and the sun that are really dictating the tidal cycle on Earth.”

When the last day of the king tide cycle hit on Thursday, the tides were strong.

"But the storm surge, which is a result of having usually a strong king tide cycle, is dependent on the waves, the wind and the pressure as well. So we don't have a low-pressure system nearby. We actually have a building ridge, kind of capping all that moisture below it,” says the meteorologist.  

Another king tide is in B.C.'s forecast in February. 

Communities prepared for king tide

On Tuesday, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation closed a section of the seawall to place new gates and monitor the king tide. 

"Please enjoy other parts of the seawall for now and give crews plenty of space to work. Thank you,” said a spokesperson on Twitter. 

The District of West Vancouver, meanwhile, proactively prepares for the king tide season.

"A tiger dam is installed around the Silk Purse and Music Box before the season begins and stays there until king tide season has passed,” says district spokesperson Donna Powers.

Parks staff, she adds, monitor the weather forecast and conditions on the ground closely and respond as necessary. 

"If the water is going to be very high, or if winds are in the forecast, staff will close the [Centennial] Seawalk proactively and reopen it once the water has receded and any debris has been cleared,” says Powers. 

A spokesperson for the City of Vancouver confirmed to Glacier Media that there was no damage along the seawall or Kitsilano Pool, which was damaged during a king tide in 2022. 

"Confirming no damage to that infrastructure reported this year," says Eva Cook, senior communication specialist. "Our crews have been monitoring the tides and winds carefully ... should there be any concerns, so that focus will continue as long as needed."