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King tide the biggest

Coffs Coast Advocate

WE like things big in Coffs Harbour - our bananas, now our slurpees - and yesterday's record king tide was no different.

While lifeguards had the warning signs out in force, the biggest king tide to hit the east coast in 18 years saw the beaches packed with holiday-makers and the waves clogged with surfers.

On Ocean Parade at a spot renowned for going underwater in large tides, cars powered through water up to their headlights, while tourists snapped photos and fishos waded up to their knees into the flow of Coffs Creek.

One local, David, shook his head at the cars. “You see this all the time, I've been here 20-odd years - don't they realise it's saltwater?” David said.

Jetty Beach was a choice spot for bathers, while Macauleys Headland and Gallows saw plenty of surfers catching waves of between two and four feet high.

Lifeguards at Park Beach tried to get swimmers to only go in to their waists as the water flowed back out to sea after about 10.30am.

The tide was large yesterday due to the sun, earth and moon lining up to create a one-in-18-year high tide.

CSIRO spokesperson Dr Kathleen McInnes said the tide gave a snapshot of how things might be in the future.

Dr McInnes said the tides could be a regular occurrence by 2060 if sea levels continued to rise.

“This king tide is not caused by climate change but it can help us picture what our coastlines might look like in the future,” Dr McInnes said.

“Documenting the tide on seawalls, jetties and coastal infrastructure will create a helpful visual record for future plan- ning.”

Dr McInnes said the NSW government, local councils and community groups co-ordinated a statewide photographic survey of the king tide yesterday for future planning purposes.

King tides are natural events that happen twice a year, with the tides on Monday around 40 to 50cm higher than the average spring tide.



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