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King Tide events in Charleston

King Tide events are a regular occurrence and may cause coastal flooding.

downtown flooding

High tide flooding at King and Huger Streets.

Photo by the CHStoday team

When you receive our daily emails, you’ll notice we share the tide times at the top of our newsletter. Have you heard of what an exceedingly high tide is called?

King Tide is a nonscientific term describing Perigean spring tides, the highest tides that happen yearly. The average high tide in Charleston is ~5.5 feet, and during a King Tide event, the high tide can reach 7 feet or higher.

This event happens when the moon is either new or full, and is closest to the Earth in its monthly orbit.

Sometimes, the effects of a King Tide can go unnoticed, but other times, they can cause or worsen flooding. It can make things worse if these events happen during the same time as a storm. We saw this during last year’s Tropical Storm Idalia.

The National Weather Service Forecast in Charleston has set these marks in place for flooding:

  • Action stage - 6.5 feet
  • Minor flooding - 7 feet
  • Moderate flooding - 7.5 feet
  • Major flooding - 8 feet

The last King Tide we saw was during last month’s eclipse, and the next predicted King Tide is Monday, May 6 through Wednesday, May 8. Keep an eye out for flooding if you reside or travel in an area prone to flooding.

You can keep track of King Tide events with the City of Charleston’s TideEye Tracker.

Get involved

The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control welcomes the community to capture these events, while emphasizing the importance of avoiding hazardous situations, particularly during storms. If you experience the effects of a King Tide, you can submit your pictures to their mobile app.