9 Feb 2012

King tides force two Marshalls schools to close

3:24 pm on 9 February 2012

Two Marshall Islands secondary schools have been forced to close for the past two days because king tides washed out portions of an 11 kilometre long causeway, preventing school buses from transporting students to school.

The director of Queen of Peace Schools on Kwajalein Atoll, Gary Elaishain, says the tides are dictating the school schedule.

The causeway, built 20 years ago, is not paved or properly reinforced, resulting in ongoing damage from storm surf and high tides.

The government's senior advisor on climate change, Steve Why, says the country is currently in a weak to moderate La Nina phase, so sea levels and high tides are up to 10 centimetres above average.

He has advised people to expect flooding through to tomorrow.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says these floods are not usually destructive inundation events, but rather produce one-to-two hours of inconvenience flooding either side of the peak tide.