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Here come the high tides

"They say time and tide wait for no man. But the highest tides of the year usually do wait for a time in December and January to hit the island. Tides about three feet above average will roll up on Whidbey's beaches during the morning hours this week and into next week. Tides of more than 13 feet are expected on the mainland side of the island. That's the highest since last January. Tides are measured from the lowest spot of low tide to the highest spot of high tide. Though not unusual for this time of year, high tides sometimes carry the risk of flooding when combined with blustery winds, heavy rain or low barometric pressure. None of that is expected to occur this time around.Tides are governed mainly by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun on the world's oceans. At certain times of the year the moon also comes closer to the earth and lines up with the sun, which increases the pull and the tides. Often these moon-sun alignments happen during full moons. A full moon occurred on Monday.Tides vary from one side of the island to the other because of the shape and depth of Puget Sound. They tend to be higher on the east side of the island because of the narrower and shallower channel on that side.Sarah Schmidt, program coordinator with Island County/WSU Beach Watchers, said high tides don't provide the same kind of educational and entertainment opportunities found with low tides. But she added that the greatest physical changes to beaches happen during the winter months because of environmental conditions, including high tides.As usual, this year's high tides are accompanied by some low tides. Some island beaches will see tides drop to minus 2 or more on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. However, the low tides will occur in the middle of the night. -----------------Tidal swingHere are the tide ranges predicted for the end of this week:Eastern beachesWednesday, Dec. 13, 6:59 a.m.: 13.1 feetThursday, Dec. 14, 7:47 a.m.:13.2 feetFriday, Dec. 15, 8:36 a.m.:13.1 feetSaturday, Dec. 16, 9:27 a.m.:13.0 feetWestern beachesFriday, Dec. 15, 8:23 a.m.: 10 feetSaturday, Dec. 16, 9:11 a.m.: 9.9 feetSunday, Dec. 17, 9:57 a.m.: 9.8 feetMonday, Dec. 18, 10:41 a.m.: 9.7 feet "

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