fb-pixel Skip to main content

The highest tides of the year rolled into Massachusetts over the weekend, with a powerful “king tide” washing up in Boston just after noon Sunday, meteorologists said.

King tides, which are exceptionally high, occur when the sun and moon align and the “gravitational pull on the Earth is at its strongest,” according to NASA.

The Boston area experienced a king tide Saturday, with waves as high as 12.3 feet, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Kristie Smith. On Sunday at 12:32 p.m., the highest wave hit 12.1 feet, just four inches less than a day earlier.

“Places around Boston like Morrissey Boulevard or Boston’s Seaport usually experience coastal flooding at 12.3 feet,” said Smith. “We’d see more substantial flooding if this coincided with a storm.”


In past years, king tides caused flooding in places like Long Wharf, where some people carried their shoes as they maneuvered around water pooling on the walkways.

The National Weather Service released a coastal flooding statement, suggesting flood-prone areas could experience minor flooding.

Richard Natale, the owner of a Boston memorabilia stand on Long Wharf, said he did not experience the flooding that usually comes from the king tides. “We had no problems today. The coastal flooding that was expected did not happen,” he said.

Natale, a Boston native who has operated the stand for more than 20 years, pointed to the Legal Seafood restaurant across the street.

“In 2012, the king tide coincided with a storm, and the Legal Seafood restaurant and the Marriott both flooded,” said Natale, 57, hands tucked in his coat pockets.

The Boston Harbor Cruises company on Long Wharf operated as usual with no cancellations on Sunday, according to an employee.

Maysoon Khan can be reached at maysoon.khan@globe.com.