Saturday, January 23, 2016

Full Moon High Tides Worsen NE U.S. Blizzard

"Spring Tides" occur during Full Moon and New Moon phases, when the
gravitational forces of the Moon and the Sun are combined, making high
tides higher than normal. "Neap Tides" occur during First Quarter and Last
Quarter Moon phases when the gravity of the Moon and the Sun work at
right-angles to each other, essentially canceling each other-out.
(Image Source: )

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

High tides caused by tonight's Full Moon are worsening the blizzard now hitting the coastal regions of the northeastern United States. The Full Moon occurred, at the moment of the posting of this blog post: Saturday Evening, 2016 January 23 at 8:46 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) / January 24 at 1:46 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

On Saturday morning, the high tide of 8.98 feet at Cape May, New Jersey at 7:51 a.m. EST / 12:51 UTC exceeded the record of 8.9 feet set on 2012 October 29 during Super-storm Sandy. Hence, major flooding is occurring along the New Jersey and Delaware coast lines.

A high tide of 9.27 feet at Lewes, Delaware is higher than the 9.2 feet record from March of 1962. National Weather Service Meteorologist Patrick O'Hara said, “All the factors that affect the tides, it’s all happening at once.”

The barrier islands in Atlantic County, New Jersey, near Atlantic City, had significant tidal flooding. Flooding is typical during Nor'easter storms, but the current situation is more dangerous than usual, according to Atlantic County Public Information Officer Linda Gilmore. She added that she expects the situation to grow more severe with each high tide through Sunday morning.

Coastal areas of New York's Long Island are also expecting flooding, due to the higher-than-usual high tides.

However, thus far, there have been no reports of evacuations of people, like there were along the New Jersey shore during Super-storm Sandy in 2012.

High tides during Full Moon and New Moon phases, known as “Spring Tides” (which have nothing to do with the season of Spring), are always stronger than normal high tides. During these two Moon phases, the Sun, Earth, and Moon lie in a straight line (known as syzygy), which results in the gravitational forces of the Moon and Sun combining; hence, high tides are higher than normal.

“Neap Tides,” which are especially weak tides, occur during the First Quarter and Last Quarter Moon phases. Then, the gravity of the Moon and the Sun are perpendicular to one another (in relation to the Earth), and tend to cancel each other-out.

Even though the Moon's gravitational force is just one ten-millionth that of the Earth, the Earth's centrifugal force, created by the Earth's rotation, helps to create tides. While the Moon's gravity is pulling upward on the ocean water, the Earth's gravity is pulling downward on the water; yet, the Moon's gravity does have a slight advantage, hence causing tides.

Due to the Sun's great distance from the Earth (on average, 92.96 million miles), versus the Moon's comparatively closer distance (on average, 238,855 miles), the Sun's gravitational force on the Earth is only 46 percent that of the Moon. So, while the Sun's gravity does contribute to ocean tides, this contribution is much less than that of the Moon.

“Tractive Force” is defined as the type of gravitational force which causes tides.

Due to the Earth's daily rotation on its axis, the Moon appears to move around our sky about once every 25 hours. So, there are two high tides every day, each separated by about 12 hours.

Since the Moon is also moving, in its orbit around the Earth, the Moon is not in the same place at the same time each day. So, on average, the times of both high tides and low tides change each day by about 50 minutes.

Away from coastal areas, in the deep ocean, the difference in the size of tides is usually less than 1.6 feet. However, tidal effects are amplified at beaches. The highest tides in the world are at the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada, where tides are known to have a range of 44.6 feet !

To most Native Americans, the Full Moon of January was known as the Wolf Moon (although some references refer to the December Full Moon as the "Wolves" Moon). Of course this refers to the hungry wolf packs howling on cold and snowy nights outside Indian villages.

The Full Moon in January, in the Northern Hemisphere, was also known as the Old Moon, the Moon After Yule, Difficulty Moon, and Black Smoke Moon. And, some Indian tribes referred to this Full Moon as the Snow Moon, although most tribes used the Snow Moon name for the Full Moon of February.

 In the Southern Hemisphere, the Full Moon of January was known as the Hay Moon, Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, and Mead Moon.

More on "Spring Tides" and "Neap Tides" ---
Link 1 >>>
Link 2 >>>
Link 3 >>>

More on Tides:
Link 1 >>>
Link 2 >>>

More on Syzygy: Link >>>

More on the Full Moon: Link >>>

More on Full Moon names ---
Link 1 >>>
Link 2 >>>
Link 3 >>>

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
              2016 January 23.

                                                               Historic 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.
        2016: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Observatory
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