Residents in low-lying and coastal areas of Grand Cayman reported much higher tides than normal between Thursday and Saturday.
In the north side of Grand Cayman, people living near the water say they have not seen tides this high in 60 years.
Areas of Snug Harbour adjacent to the North Sound, Grand Harbour on the sound’s southern end, the neighboring Red Bay-Selkirk Drive area, and even beach-front property owners in East End and North Side, all noted sea water levels much higher than usual.
In Snug Harbour, water rose from canals to the north and come over Memory Lane, a side road off Jennifer Drive. By Sunday morning, the water had covered most of the road. Residents on the north side of the canal, in Canal Point, also reported much higher-than-usual waters.
In the Selkirk Drive neighborhood, local business owner Harry Lalli noted some areas by the canal were covered with water.
“I would say [Saturday] morning, the water was probably … six to eight inches higher,” Mr. Lalli said. “Just toward the edge of the water, you’re like ‘oh, I used to be able to walk along here.”
In East End, Richie Franks noted that a 60-foot long tree that had washed up by his beach-front property had been carried away in high tides sometime Friday evening.
“The tide’s just coming, it’s now actually eroding where the grass has been growing,” Mr. Franks said. “It’s not been this high in the last few years, maybe ever.”
In Cayman Kai, on the edge of North Side district heading into the waters of the North Sound, residents noted they hadn’t seen tides so high in six decades.
Officials at the Cayman Islands National Weather Service said they did not know why the tides were higher than normal. Flooding occurrences from raised canal waters in North Sound Estates in the Savannah-Newlands area had been noted previously by the weather service.
Tide forecasts out of Jamaica put tides in the “very high range” [100+ coefficient] between Sunday and Thursday of this week.
According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, about three or four times a year, the new or full moon coincides closely with the point at which the moon is closest to the Earth. These occurrences can be called “perigean spring tides.” Since the moon travels in an elliptical pattern around the Earth, there are times when it comes closer and its gravitational pull upon the oceans’ tides is greater.
The full moon for the month of September is due to occur on Monday. However, according to NOAA’s data, the closest, brightest moon for this year – known as the “supermoon” – has already passed as of Aug. 10, 2014.
According to NOAA scientists, the “spring tide” phenomenon is nothing to worry about. “The difference between perigean spring tide and normal tide ranges for all areas of the coast is small,” a statement on NOAA’s website notes. “In most cases, the difference is only a couple of inches above normal spring tides.”