Guam warns of tidal flooding

As predicted by US Weather officials on Guam, ocean water began flooding onto Majuro Atoll’s north shore late Wednesday afternoon. In this photo in the Alwal area of Rita, Majuro, Dr. Karl Fellenius of the College of the Marshall Islands can be seen standing at the shoreline taking photos as ocean water floods onto the road. Photo: Hilary Hosia.
As predicted by US Weather officials on Guam, ocean water began flooding onto Majuro Atoll’s north shore late Wednesday afternoon. In this photo in the Alwal area of Rita, Majuro, Dr. Karl Fellenius of the College of the Marshall Islands can be seen standing at the shoreline taking photos as ocean water floods onto the road. Photo: Hilary Hosia.

GIFF JOHNSON

Majuro was warned Tuesday by Guam weather officials to expect king tide flooding from Wednesday through Friday this week.

The National Weather Service on Guam issued a “Special Weather Statement” Tuesday warning the combination of the highest tides of 2016 coupled with high winds from a storm that is brewing near Wake Island were expected to cause inundation on ocean side shorelines at Ejit, north side of Rita, and lagoon side of Majuro’s south shore Ajeltake area.

Compounding the situation, according to ocean researchers, is ocean levels are returning to their higher pre-El Niño levels.

“It looks like sea level is starting to bounce back post-El Niño,” said Dr. Murray Ford, who formerly worked at the College of the Marshall Islands and studies climate and ocean issues in the region. “The live data seems to show water levels have really picked up.”

High tide Wednesday at 4:39pm local time was anticipated as the highest of the year. Historically, February and March bring the highest “king tides” annually in the Marshall Islands. “I’ve been compiling a table of historic floods in Majuro since 1979 — 19 and counting,” said Ford.

The Guam Weather Service said Tuesday “coastal inundation possible through Friday morning,” after which the high tide cycle will dissipate.

Read more about this in the March 11, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.

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