The most recent round of king tides was uneventful on Whidbey compared to a similar tide event in December, though island officials are still making preparations for potential future floods.
Personnel from North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue, and South Whidbey Fire/EMS all said they received no calls about floods or other incidents relating to the king tides that took place in the Puget Sound region earlier this week.
High tides exceeded 13 feet in some areas on the island between Jan. 21 and 25. Though the tides were comparable to those at the end of last month, December tides were exacerbated by rain, snowmelt and low barometric pressure, all of which contributed to severe flooding in many shoreline neighborhoods and commercial districts.
“This round of tides was much calmer,” Port of South Whidbey Harbormaster Kathy Myers wrote in an email, adding that the South End has no tide-related damage or even clean up to be done this time around.
Port of Coupeville Executive Director Chris Michalopoulos confirmed that Central Whidbey fared similarly, with “no damage whatsoever.” Last month, homes near Greenbank and a number of Front Street businesses flooded or sustained damage from driftwood carried in by the tides, prompting Coupeville stakeholders to ask U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen to ease restrictions that make it difficult for shoreline property owners to fortify their buildings against future floods.
The impact was also minimal in the Oak Harbor area, where no significant damage was identified, according to City Administrator Blaine Oborn.
“Our Parks and Recreation staff did notice that we lost some more of the Windjammer Park pedestrian path foundation,” Oborn said. “Parks and Recreation staff will be putting out sandbags this week.”
Whidbey officials are taking measures to mitigate the effects of future flooding and tidal events. The town of Coupeville is currently conducting a sea level rise vulnerability assessment to determine which areas of the town are most at risk. Similar studies have been completed by the city of Langley and Island County in recent years.
The Port of Coupeville is even considering raising the historic wharf 3 to 4 feet to protect it. During a meeting on Wednesday, Michalopoulos told commissioners that he discussed the feasibility of lifting the wharf with a representative from Nickel Bros, a British Columbia-based residential and industrial structural moving company.
Michalopoulos said the representative was very confident that it could be done.