Have you noticed higher water in area bayous lately? If so, it’s not your imagination

If you’ve noticed the water locally is a tad high, it’s not your imagination.


But it probably isn’t what you think.


An iceberg the size of Donald Trump’s ego did not break off Antarctica. The ground isn’t sinking due to all the condos.


I wondered about this apparent rise as I strolled the fitness path at Ferry Park, which is crisscrossed by drainage canals due to the area’s unfortunate habit of filling houses in the neighborhood with a foot of water during "rain events." (They should be called "Carpet Replacement Events.")


Large grassy areas along the banks were flooded, the way they flood after a heavy rainstorm, or when a hurricane is threatening.


Except we’ve had no heavy rainstorms. In fact, we’ve had no rain at all except for a trace in early October that dirtied up my car’s windshield (as I write this, more rain is forecast for the coming week … I hope that happened). And despite the crazy hurricane season, which didn’t crank up until September and crammed an entire season’s worth of storms into a scant 30 days, we were not facing a tropical cyclone.


I tweeted about it and folks around the area said they had noticed the same thing. The water, they said, was about a foot or two higher than normal. One caller said low docks along Cinco Bayou were underwater.


Finally, I called the National Weather Service office in Mobile, Alabama. The forecaster I spoke with knew immediately what I was talking about.


They’re called king tides, which is a colloquial, not scientific, term. This is the way it works:


The moon moves around the earth in an elliptical orbit, which sometimes it’s closer, sometimes it’s farther away.


Simultaneously, the earth moves around the sun in an elliptical orbit. It too is sometimes closer, sometimes farther away from our star.


Both the moon and the sun’s gravity affect our tides. When the moon is closest to the earth, and the earth is closest to the sun, and both of those bodies are pulling on our seas, they can cause higher than normal tides.


Folks call those higher than normal tides "king tides." That term, according to Wikipedia, originated in Australia and New Zealand and is now being used in the States, especially in the Miami area, which routinely floods during these events.


So there you have it, folks. Flooding explained.


Del Stone Jr. is the online editor for the Daily News. You can contact him at (850) 315-4433 or dstone@nwfdailynews.com