What are spring tides, and why do we have them?

Waves crashing against Blackpool promenade
Waves crashing against Blackpool promenade

The combination of 70mph winds and high 'spring' tides this weekend could see the Lancashire coast lashed with high waves and some flooding.

READ MORE: Flooding and traffic disruption forecast as Storm Brian set to hit this weekend

What are spring and neap tides.

What are spring and neap tides.

While many people understand that the strong winds are likely to be caused by the latest approaching storm, many people have taken to social media to ask 'what are spring tides'?

There are two different types of tide; spring and neap, with spring tides occuring twice a month during full or new moons.

Here is how the Met Office describes each of the tides:

Neap tides - When there is a low tide, the Moon faces the Earth at a right angle to the Sun so the gravitational force of the Moon and Sun work against each other, these tides are referred to as neap tides. It is often referred to as a low tide or one that is lower than average. A neap tide happens between two spring tides and occurs twice a month when the first and last quarter Moon appears.

Spring tides - When there is a high tide, the Sun, Moon and Earth are in alignment and the gravitational force is strong; these tides are known as spring tides and occur twice a month. In this case the Moon can appear in between the Earth and Sun resulting in a solar eclipse, or at the furthest point away from the Sun resulting in a full Moon. When in alignment, the Moon and Sun combine in gravitational forces to bring the highest and lowest tides of the month.