Extra high tides projected for Fundy this week

Wendy Elliott welliott@kingscountynews.ca
Published on November 13, 2012
High tides near Wolfville. File

By Wendy Elliott

welliott@kingscountynews.ca

High tides will double this week from the heights experienced last week in the Minas Basin.

Tim Webster of the Applied Geomatics Research Group at NSCC’s Centre of Geographic Sciences suggests, “at the time of high tide, we’re vulnerable.”

“The more awareness there is the better prepared people can be.”

Generally, higher tides are evident when the moon’s orbit takes it closer to the earth. A new or full moon also adds an impact. The new moon this month takes place Nov. 13.

Tomorrow, with the moon at perigee, the tide height in the Minas Basin is projected to reach 15.9 metres. On Nov. 15, it could be even higher at 16.2 metres.

Barring a storm surge at the same time, the dykes should be capable of withstanding such tides. However, there won’t be much room to spare, perhaps a foot or two. A storm surge coincident with the high tide could potentially overtop the dykes.  

Sherman Williams of the Blomidon Naturalists Society is expecting pretty healthy tides. The Avonport resident will watching to see where the wind is blowing from as well.

“South winds can elevate the tides significantly,” he said. Williams noted that the tides were high in October too.

According to Webster, a deep low pressure, combined with wind, could help push water over dykes, especially with waves. The storm surge in New York during hurricane Sandy was four metres. During the famed Saxby Gale of 1869, it was about two metres (6.5 feet) in the Bay of Fundy.

The dykes at Wolfville harbour were last topped in the 1970s, but in recent years, water has pushed to Main Street, near Willow Park.

Webster says what happens will depend on the wind direction. His team has recently prepared elevation data about dykes for municipalities like Lunenburg, Yarmouth, Windsor and Wolfville.

Hopefully, he said, we won't have a series of combined weather factors and it will simply be a sightseeing opportunity.