MiamiHerald / The tide watchers start patrolling whenever the celestial forces align. From coast to coast, hundreds of tide watchers come out with their cameras to record the latest ‘king tides,’ brief episodes of tidal flooding that could become the norm, with expected sea-level rise.

King tides are a colloquial term for the highest tides of the year. They occur when the moon is closest to the earth at moments when the sun, moon and Earth are in alignment, increasing the gravitational forces at play.

A decade ago, few had heard of “king tides,” much less waded through them in galoshes. Now, Miami regularly floods . So does Myrtle Beach, Charleston and other U.S. cities. And more than ever, groups of citizens are out there photographing the results, uploading the pics and debating what the future will bring.

“Coastal flooding is our new normal,” said Daniel J. Burger, who coordinates the King Tides Initiative for the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control. “What we are doing is leveraging the capacity of interested citizens to document a very dynamic coastline.”

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