Beachgoers urged to be aware of king tide during Fourth of July

Updated: Jul. 2, 2019 at 7:29 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With king tides expected in the Grand Strand Wednesday and Thursday, officials are asking beachgoers to be aware of their surroundings with the higher-than-normal tides.

Chris Turner has lived in Garden City for 22 years. He said part of living right near the ocean is dealing with the change of tides.

“Other than hurricanes, we’ve had water come completely where the ocean meets the creek," said Turner.

In some cases, higher than average tides, known as king tides, cause the water to go beyond the shore and invade streets. Flooding in the past has been at it’s worst in areas like Atlantic and Cypress Avenues, just down the road from where Turner lives.

“When the king tide comes, the water comes all the way down our street," he said.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said king tides happen when the sun, moon, and earth align just right.

“The king tides are a phenomenon that happen over the year. They happen a couple of times a year. Usually it’s just a higher tide for us here in the Myrtle Beach area, but in other cases it can cause flooding,” said Myrtle Beach Fire Lt. Jonathan Evans.

On July 3 and 4 we are expecting to have a King Tide affect our area which is a higher than normal tide due to the...

Posted by Myrtle Beach Fire Department on Monday, July 1, 2019

Officials said with the potential for higher-than-normal tides during the holiday, that means less space on the shore during a time where residents and visitors flock to the beach.

“This is happening during our busiest week, during our busiest day of the year so we just want to make sure people understand what’s going on, why it’s so high, and help us make room for our beach patrol," said Evans.

Last Fourth of July, the department’s beach patrol responded to more than 70 calls, compared to the average 30 to 50 calls on a normal day. Fire officials said it’s crucial to leave space for first responders to get to those calls during the busy holiday.

“It doesn’t help us to do beach patrol if we can’t be on the beach. And we understand we have to share and we’re going to do our best to understand and be friendly about it, but at the same time we need to make our own path down there as well," said Evans.

Evans added with king tides also comes the heightened risk for rip currents.

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