High tides in Majuro

Sarah Lipson, a volunteer in the Marshall Islands, writes about the high tides that are threatening to flood Majuro, the town where she is based.

Some of the highest tides ever predicted to occur in Majuro are forecast during January, February and March of 2010. From Friday 29th of January until Tuesday 2nd of February the evening high tide is predicted to be over 2.00 meters or 6’ 6’’, reaching 2.19 meters or 7’ 2’’ on the 31st of January. These water levels alone are enough to create multiple hazards, particularly in vulnerable low-lying areas. These potential hazards are magnified if a period of large swell coincides with the high tides. Both ocean and lagoon coasts are vulnerable to flooding and increased erosion during these events.

photo courtesy of Sarah Lipson

"At high tide on January 29, I walked to the tip of Rita to assess the tides and was struck by one particular home. In the poorest community in Majuro, this shack was feet from being swept into the ocean. Terrifyingly, the highest tide is predicted for approximately 20 hours from now. Such vulnerability, such beauty…"

photo courtesy of Sarah Lipson

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