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A better way to view storm tides in Chesapeake Bay

Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have added forecast capabilities to their network of Tidewatch water-level stations, giving residents of the lower Chesapeake Bay region a new on-line tool for gauging the magnitude of coastal flooding in a given location and minimizing its potential impacts.

The public launch of the Tidewatch forecast system comes just in time for the height of the Atlantic hurricane season, which typically peaks on September 10. A string of hurricanes and strong nor’easters during recent years, coupled with rising sea level, have brought several episodes of significant flooding to Tidewater Virginia and other areas of the Bay.

Tidewatch is a system developed by VIMS emeritus professor John Boon that measures and forecasts the difference between the predicted astronomical tide and observed water levels at 10 locations within Chesapeake Bay and along Virginia’s seaside Eastern Shore. This difference—the residual—represents non-tidal, weather-induced change in water level including storm surge.

Tidewatch charts provide an effective way to measure, visualize, and predict the magnitude and impacts of coastal flooding in a given location. The use of Tidewatch charts can help forecasters and coastal residents better prepare for storm tides and minimize their potential impacts. They are particularly useful for comparing storm tides in areas with different tidal ranges.

Tidewatch Stations

Tidewatch operates at 10 stations. Access observations and forecasts for individual stations using the links or Google Map below, or view a single graph that compares water-level forecasts among all the stations.


Back River Dandy Haven Marina (BRDH): raw data Money Point (MNPT)
Bishops Head, MD (BISH) Sewell’s Point (SWPT)
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) Wachapreague (WACH)
Jamestown Ferry Pier (JMTN): raw data Windmill Point (WMPT)
Kiptopeke (KIPT) Yorktown Coast Guard Training Center (YRCG)

imageThe Tidewatch system now generates 36-hour public forecasts for 9 water-level stations within Chesapeake Bay and a single station on Virginia’s seaside Eastern Shore. The forecasts, updated every half hour, were previously only available on an experimental basis.
More of the story here


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