Monday, April 7, 2008

Tuesday’s Surf – Morning fun…afternoon winds

Tuesday is looking surfable…at least in the morning.

So there will be some surf on Tuesday…we will have a mix of WNW energy (mostly local windswell and a bit of long-period NW energy from 290+) and some S-SW swell that is holding in the background.

Most spots will be around knee-chest high. Standout breaks, mostly in San Diego, Ventura, parts of Orange County, and the South Bay will have some shoulder high sets in the morning.

Conditions in the morning should be OK…there is supposed to be an eddy keeping the winds light along the coast…maybe a touch of SW for San Diego and a bit of N-NW for Santa Barbara but lighter in Ventura, LA, and the OC. The tide will be a bit of an issue in the middle of the day but we should have a decent tide push for the dawn patrol. Strong onshore winds are expected by the afternoon…maybe even a few showers for the northern areas.

For the most part I think we can all get out and pick off a few fun ones Tuesday morning…about the only thing that I am a little worried about is the wind. We are going to be pretty dependent on the eddy to shut down the onshore winds…or at least lesson the effect enough to give us rideable surf. So a lot is going to depend on exactly where the eddy decides to anchor itself.

Personally I am going to wake up and check the cameras in the morning, maybe wait for a couple of text messages from my dawn patrol buddies before totally committing to a surf session (can you say lazy…hahahaha). Another good resource is the COAMPS Southern California Wind Analysis…the post an update around 5am, which is close enough to sunrise to still be applicable. Here is a shot of this mornings update…you can see the strong winds in the outer waters and then variable winds (set up by the eddy) close to shore.

Here is the link if you want to check it out live tomorrow!


kaser_one said...

I'm curious as to why the winds are so hard to predict. I've yet to find a good surf forecasting site that ties in better accuracy on their wind predictions.

Being the early riser that I am (4am) I've found that
has given me the most accurate, live data.

pushingtide said...

Tide push!

Adam Wright said...

That weather underground map is a good one.

The only thing that I don't like about it is that it doesn't give you the bigger picture that the model gives end up missing a bigger wind pattern that will define conditions for the rest of the day. Probably using them in tandem would be the best way to least for the morinng report.

As far as forecasting winds...they are pretty difficult, particularly when you are trying to cover a small dynamic area like the Southern California Bight.

Lots of times, from a forecasting standpoint you are basically taking a "snapshot" of the current scenario, which most of the time is fairly accurate. But because the real world is fluid and in a constant state of change your forecast is basically compromised the second you post it.

The Socal eddy in particular is sort of a bitch to get a good grasp on. The eddy's strength and positioning are determined by the angle/speed of the winds coming past Point Conception & the costal also is partly driven by temperature variations between the sea, land, and airmass. The catch-22 is that the eddy itself changes all those variables, doing things like cooling off some areas, shifting back and forth as the winds in the outer waters are redirected by its formation.

Another issue is that most people don't need to have a very tight, granular veiw of local wind patterns. It doesn't effect them...why should they care if the wind is 10-knots out of the W or 10-knots out of the NE...(naturally a surfer would care, those two wind directions mean the difference between offshore and junky conditions.) So the NWS/NOAA hasn't really built a forecast model tight enough to get a good local view of the is much more concerned about the bigger scale systems.

Sorry about the long-drawn out answer but when you boil it down...eddy winds are so fluid that they can be tricky...I would put about 60-65% confidence in a 24hour forecast...and about a 75% confidence in a 12 hour forecast...but I am a little conservative.

kaser_one said...


don't apologize for any long drawn out answers. i think alot of us that are involved, suck up as much detailed data as possible, keep it coming!

i appreciate the detailed answer, it gives a better understanding of those farking winds that are such a pain in the arse sometimes.

srfnff said...

What K1 said! The METOC Surface Winds Vectors chart is really good, I tried to find it's mate for NorCal but I don't think it exists. Thanks Adam for turning me on to "wind eddys." That explained a lot about this one particular area that I surf a lot and why the wind direction doesn't correspond to the larger area wind pattern.

For wind I do a lot of "hindcasting," i.e. what it was like yesterday unless the general weather pattern has changed, and I find that out through daily NWS observations.

Keep it coming, I've already learned a ton from your blog.