NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — All week, 10 On Your Side has been giving you a heads up on the king tide happening Saturday, but what is it?

“Every year we get high tides because the moon and the earth are close together and those are called king tides,” explained Skip Stiles.

Stiles is the Executive Director of Wetlands Watch, an organization of advocates and activists who work to protect and preserve Virginia’s wetlands.

For the last six years, Stiles says Wetlands Watch has hosted their “Catch the King Citizen Science Event.”

“Catch the King” is a citizen-science GPS data collection effort centered in Hampton Roads. Stiles says it’s an organized way to collect data and map king tide’s flooding points.

He said scientists learn a lot from tracking king tide each year.

“The king tide we’re getting this year is a foot and a half higher. The regional government says the sea level is going to rise higher,” said Stiles. “So what we’re seeing today is showing us what the water will look like on a normal tide mid-century.”

He told 10 On Your Side the Sea Level Rise app they have set up allows anyone to volunteer.

Download the Sea Level Rise app: iPhone | Android

“The program that we’ve got set up to catch the king tide is designed to measure where the water goes in these king tides. It’s a phone app called Sea Level Rise,” said Stiles. “It lets someone walk around the edge of where the flooding is and drop pins that are geolocation pins. That way mappers, models, and planners can take that information and make maps and show exactly where the flooding is happening.”

By tracking the history of the flooding and studying the data, researchers can help different stakeholders make key decisions that shape the tomorrow of Hampton Roads.

“What intersections flood, what yards flood, what museums flood? That way, they can use information in their planning for the future.”

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