The Coastal Star

By Steve Plunkett

Fall has come and, with it, the season of higher-than-usual tides.
In the Intracoastal Waterway west of Ocean Ridge, for example, tides crested at 3.3 feet above mean low water levels in September. They’ll hit 4.1 feet with the new moon Oct. 7-9 and 3.9 feet again Nov. 3-4.
In March, April and May, by comparison, the tides will max out at 2.8 feet.
Tides peak twice each month, during the new and full phases of the moon, said Robert Molleda, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“They occur when the Earth, sun and the moon all three are in a line,’’ Molleda said. And they’re generally higher around the fall and spring equinoxes.
Even though Highland Beach is low-lying, Town Manager Dale Sugerman said the town doesn’t get tidal water on A1A but rain can back up if tides are high.
In Manalapan, last year’s elevation of State Road A1A makes highway flooding a topic for the town’s history book. The roadway was raised 18 inches and new water mains and drainage were installed.
“That’s helped us with our high tides,’’ Town Clerk Lisa Petersen said.
Town Manager William Thrasher said Gulf Stream had major problems with flooded roads about 10 years ago but had since invested in extra drainpipes and pumps.
Still, water can accumulate especially when tides are extra high and accompanied by rain.
“High tide is one thing, but high high tide is another,’’ Thrasher said.

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