Update from Kate - Information about El Niño, Recent High Tides and Preparation

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Supervisor Kate Sears with Information
About El Niño, Recent High Tides and
How You Can Prepare!

El Niño is the talk of the town, not counting traffic congestion. Flood Control and Water Resources in Marin County Public Works is busy tracking information, scoping and planning flood protection measures for consideration in Southern Marin watersheds, and providing annual creek, levee and storm drain maintenance to prepare.

Why are the tides appearing to be higher than normal?

Many of us have noticed how high the tides have been recently in Richardson's Bay. I've wondered why and perhaps you have too. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) reports that El Niño is expected to play a significant role in observed tides which are higher than predicted.

In Richardson's Bay, due in part to warming of the seas, tides have recently been running up to 1 ft. above predicted and are likely to run even higher during storms.

NOAA's Tides & Currents website provides the latest information on both predicted and observed tides. Here are dates to watch and below are links about how to watch the higher tides!

Upcoming dates with tides predicted to be at or above 6.5 ft. include:

  • October 26th - 29th
  • November 23rd - 27th
  • December 21st - 26th
  • January 20th - 23rd
  • February 8th

To observe the tides coming to Richardson's Bay, you can look at the tide gauge in San Francisco at the Golden Gate. Real-time as well as predicted and observed tides are available here. They are also available here in an alternative format. There is typically little variation between the magnitude of the tides at the Gate, and the tides at Richardson's Bay and the time lag is less than half an hour.

While the County of Marin's Flood Control District does not maintain a gauge in Richardson's Bay to monitor the tides, stream gauges are located at strategic places along creeks in Marin upstream from the bay. In Southern Marin, a stream gauge is located on Arroyo Corte Madera del Presidio creek where you can watch the water levels in real time.

With higher water levels predicted and occurring now, how do we prepare?

Attend the Marin Flood Preparedness Fair in observance of California Flood Preparedness Week and get ready! It's free.

Marin Flood Preparedness Fair
Saturday, October 24th, 2015
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Marin Exhibition Hall, Manzanita Room
10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael

  • Learn what El Niño could mean for Marin
  • Get tips for protecting your property from flooding
  • Talk with government officials about flood preparedness
  • And much more!

The Marin Watershed Program provides a framework to integrate flood protection and environmental restoration with public and private partners to protect and enhance Marin's watersheds. Flood control and watershed engineering staff provide useful information on the Watershed Program website. Check out all the exciting information there.

To stay informed, please subscribe to Marin Watershed notifications for helpful meetings and notices about local conditions and flooding.

Thanks for taking the initiative to check out these resources, attend the Preparedness Fair, and stay tuned for further information updates.

Please stay in touch and feel welcome to write to me at ksears@marincounty.org. Share this information with friends and urge them to subscribe to my news and information by signing up.