Mont Saint-Michel
Mont Saint-Michel is expected to be completely surrounded by water during the super-tides Reuters

The solar eclipse is expected to cause unusually high tides today in the southern coast of England and the north of France.

The most dramatic scenes are likely to take place at French island of Mont Saint-Michel.

The rocky island and its Gothic Benedictine abbey, which form a Unesco World Heritage Site, are the location of some of Europe's strongest tides. But the high tide due this evening is set to be exceptional, with predictions that seas could reach more than 14m and completely surround the island. It is normally linked to the mainland by a bridge.

On Friday police had difficulty controlling a crowd of around 10,000 people, attracted to what has been described by experts as "the highest tide of the century". However, the waves were marginally lower than predicted.

French officials have urged caution on sightseers for tonight's high tide at 8pm, warning that it could be dangerous to those venturing out too far.

Higher than normal tides are also expected along the UK's southern coast.

The Environment Agency is reassuring the public that the risk of flooding remains "very low for the next few days". A spokesperson said: "High tides this weekend may lead to spray on promenades in some exposed coastal locations."

The higher tides are due to Friday's solar eclipse. Because the sun and moon are in close alignment their gravitational pull on the Earth combines to produce the super-tides.

Other factors besides fluctuations in tide levels can also cause variations in coastal water levels, notably strong winds and low pressure systems. Normally, differences in water levels due to weather conditions are between 20-30cm, though they can be much larger.

Meanwhile, the highest tides of all occur in Novia Scotia's Minas Basin. Water levels there at high tide can be 16m higher than at low tide.