Offshore seas likely will be running high this weekend, as the effects of Hurricane Nate move across the Western Gulf of Mexico. If that is all we have to be concerned about, consider us lucky.
Saturday morning, seas were running from five to eight feet from the Corpus Christi area to the Sabine River. Once Nate makes landfall, Texas offshore conditions should rapidly improve.
Recent high tide levels have aroused the curiosity of a lot of readers. Among them is Harry Kelso of Galveston who asked “why have the tides been so high lately?”
There are basically three things that influence tide levels and they are wind direction, events in the Gulf of Mexico and moon phases.
In the case of our higher than normal tide levels lately, two of the factors come into play. A sustained moderate east wind along with the full moon are the major factors. Over the last couple of days, Hurricane Nate likely had its influence felt as well.
During periods of sustained east and southeast winds, tide levels are going to run higher than normal. The period around full moons causes stronger tides which tend to run higher even without the influence of other factors. Incidentally, during this period, low tide levels are usually lower than normal.
Obviously tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes are going to create rough conditions in the Gulf which in turn push waters to higher levels along the coast and in the bays.
While we have addressed higher than normal tide levels, low water levels are caused by strong west and northwest winds (both opposite directions from the flood time winds from the east and southeast). Southwest winds usually result in lower than normal tides, as winds from that direction impair the ebb and flow of tides and hinder the outflow of waters from the bays.