Maria storm surf

Strong waves crash the jetty at 2nd Avenue and JFK in North Wildwood, as Hurricane Maria looms off the coast raking the South Jersey shoreline with rough surf.

In a landscape as sensitive to coastal flooding as South Jersey, residents can mark a twice a year phenomenon on their calendars for likely tidal flooding.

The "king tide" or the highest tides of a season, will occur Friday through Labor Day, causing minor flood stage in the region. This is in spite on offshore winds on Friday and Monday. 

To have a king tide, there are three factors at play and two of them involve the moon.

King tides occur when the moon is in a new or full moon. Due to the gravitational pull between the earth and moon, they're the highest at these times. 

The moon also has to be especially close to the earth, which is known as "perigee". The moon orbits not in the circle but in an elliptical pattern, so the moon can be closer to the earth at different times than others. 

Moving from the moon to another celestial being, the earth should be closer to the sun than usual. The earth also revolves around the sun is a slightly non circular fashion. At its closest, it's called "perihelion".

King tides are a good indicator of what future tides levels will be due to climate change. 

“We think of king tides as a way for people to get a look at future flooding that will be caused by sea-level rise,” Lisa Auermuller, assistant manager at the Rutgers-administered Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, said.

ClimateCentral, a non-profit organization in Princeton, New Jersey, took a look at coastal flooding in an average year at 30 United States wide locations. The number of cumulative flood days have risen from only about a hundred in the 1980s, to a couple hundred in the 2010s. By the 2070s, about 9,000 cumulative flood days will be expected in an average year. 

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