Jeff Smith noon, March 8
January's Extreme Tides, High Rainfall, and a Quiet Moon
Highest Monthly Rainfall totals in San Diego are most likely to occur in January and February (about 1.9 inches each on average) according to weather-service statistics. If low temperatures accompany the typical Pacific storms of this period, there's a chance of snow in the mountains, including a very slim chance of snowfall as far west as the coast. Only during the months of December and January have traces of snow ever been recorded at San Diego's National Weather Service station.
Extremely High and Extremely Low Tides are set to occur on several successive days in mid-January. These tides closely coincide with the full moon, and roughly coincide with the winter solstice -- two factors that influence tide-level extremities. On Tuesday, January 18, a peak high tide of +6.3 feet occurs at 7:29 a.m. Wednesday's high tide of +6.5 feet crests at 8:10 a.m. Thursday's high tide of +6.4 feet peaks at 8:52 a.m. Friday's high tide of +6.2 feet crests at 9:36 a.m. There are at least two consequences of such high tides. If any strong winter storm happens to arrive from the west during these peak tides, some flooding of low-lying coastal areas around San Diego is likely. On the brighter side, birdwatchers have an opportunity to spot species of rare shorebirds that get pushed to the edges of local bays and coastal marshes by the high water. Several exceptionally low tides will also occur within the same string of mid-January dates. On Tuesday, January 18, the tide falls to -1.5 feet at 2:32 p.m. On Wednesday, the tide drops to -1.6 feet at 3:08 p.m. On Thursday, an equally low tide level of -1.6 feet occurs at 3:43 p.m. On Friday, the tides drops to -1.3 feet at 4:20 p.m. Any of these low-tide occasions are perfect for exploring marine life in the tidepool areas along San Diego County's coastline.
The Full Moon on Wednesday, January 19 rises impressively from the dusky east horizon at around 5:20 p.m., just ten minutes after the sun has set. Some folk names for the January full moon include "chaste moon," "quiet moon," "snow moon," and "wolf moon."