Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Something brewing in the South Pacific…(hmmm anyone feel like a Mexico/Central America/South America surf trip.)

While I am not quite ready to issue a swell alert for this storm I am definitely keeping a close eye on it as it develops.

Check out this animation and you can see what I mean (you may have to refresh the page to get the .gif to start playing from the beginning.)

As you can see there is a tight little nugget of a storm brewing up in the upper latitudes of the SPAC right near the Antarctic ice…what is really interesting is that the forecasts are showing the storm making a very solid shift from the upper to the mid-latitudes and that a lot of this movement is being powered by an infusion of warmer air/water-vapor that is being pushed down from tropical waters. It looks like this warmer air-mass is going to help supercharge the colder storm making it way more intense than it would have been on its own.

Forecasts are showing a great movement track for this storm…moving across the latitudes gives it a lot of extra time to generate waves and lines up a lot intense fetch for South America and Central America.

Also because of its movement the backside of the storm, that is being pushed by a ridge of high-pressure to the west, lines up fetch for Mainland Mexico, Baja Mexico, and Southern California. Check out this chart and you can see what I mean.

At first glance…and I will likely revise this as the storm actually forms in the next 3-4 days…this is what I see for each region.

South America is definitely going to be the biggest out of all of the areas affected by this swell…looks like Chile could be a little wet and wild as the storm itself pushes over about they same time the swell does. Peru looks like it could be a pretty good call if you are looking for some serious sized surf.

Central America will also get a good dose of swell…there may be a bit of blockage from the Galapagos Islands for the southern areas (Panama and Southern Costa Rica) but even the more shadowed spots will see consistent well-overhead+ surf from this one.

Mainland Mexico will also be well exposed to this swell…the further south you are the bigger it will be…expect to lose a lot of size as you move up the coast towards Baja.

Baja and SoCal will both likely see some decent sized surf from this storm as well but it is still a little spotty on exactly how much energy it will be able to send our way before it shifts out of our swell window. At this point I am expecting the swell to arrive in Southern Baja around the 19-20th and more on the 20-21st for SoCal.

Making Travel Plans

This storm has been a pretty consistent feature in the forecast for the last several days…so I am inclined to say that this may be a good time to roll the dice on a trip to Central America or Peru. The swell isn’t 100% locked in at this point but I think the odds are good that it will pull together over the next few days. If you are thinking about making travel plans to those areas I would try and give yourself a little fudge room on your dates…try get to Peru by the 15th and to Central America by the 16-17th...and then plan on the swell arriving a day or so after you get to your spots.


srfnff said...

Adam, great charts as usual. I love the WW3 animation, but your graphic explanations on the other charts you use are mega informative. Is there any way you could show us a chart that points out the land masses in the SPAC that shadow the Cali coast? That would be way cool.

Adam Wright said...


I actually wrote a little post about the SPAC island shadowing and how they affect swell. It has a chart on it too...(I think the google picture share is sort of on the fritz so you might have to wait a little while before it shows the chart)

Here is the link

Adam Wright said...

Sorry here is the link


Anonymous said...

Boy the subsequent models dropped the sea heights by 20+ feet, guess it won't be a big Wedsnesday swell, Coconutz!

Adam Wright said...

Yeah I was expecting the model to back down on the overall wave heights in the storm core...you generally don't see many systems that have 45-50' seas in those middle latitudes.

I am still sticking with my overall forecast though...the storm track is still good and the storm is strong enough to kick out some large surf for South America/Central America. SoCal I am still a little skeptical on...I am going to wait until I see some Jason-1 data on some of the seas in the undisturbed ocean areas before I try and dail in the SoCal part of the foreacst.

srfnff said...

Thanks Adam I downloaded the graphic. Am I correct in assuming that SPAC shadowing doesn't necessarily eliminate swell, but it can drastically reduce the energy and the size of the waves at landfall.

Since I'm in NorCal, is the graphic accurate for us up here? Tx.