Monday, September 7, 2009

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 9/7/2009

Forecast Overview

The weak mix of windswell and background SW swell will continue for the next couple of days. No significant changes are expected through the second half of the week. New Tropical Storm Linda formed this morning and will likely be a hurricane soon, she doesn’t look like a wave-maker at this point but it will be worth keeping an eye on her. Looks like a playful NW swell will be on tap for next week.

Short Range (next 3 days)

We will have a mix of small local NW-WNW windswell and some weak SW swell (210-220). Most spots will continue to see sort of soft knee to knee-high+ surf. The standout breaks, the best NW windswell spots and good combo breaks, will more consistently in the waist-chest high range. Shape is looking pretty windswelly with some occasional slightly more punchy cross-ups at the combo spots, unfortunately it looks like eddy-wind bump on tap for the morning. Winds/Weather: Forecasts are showing the eddy spin up on Tuesday, sending in S-SW winds 5-6 knots for the morning and possibly some stronger gusts in OC/SD. Areas further north look cleaner. SW-W winds 10-14 knots on tap for the afternoon.

The mix of SW swell and local NW windswell continues through midweek. Look for more knee-waist high waves at the average spots and a few chest high sets sneaking into the best SW facing breaks, mostly through SD and OC. Sets will be inconsistent, and not really worth waiting for, but it won’t be flat. Shape will still be a bit suspect thanks to onshore winds but overall it should improve slightly from Tuesday. Winds/Weather: Light and variable onshore texture for the morning. Winds will be mostly below 5 knots but there will be some bump at the more exposed areas. W winds 10-15 knots move in through the afternoon.

SW swell fades while the NW windswell creeps up a bit…outside chance for some new SW swell from Linda (though it doesn’t look like a very good chance at this point). Wave heights will hold in the knee-waist high range at the average spots. Standout breaks drop slightly…holding more around waist high. Winds/Weather: Winds look slightly better than earlier in the week. Look for light/variable morning conditions but with a touch more westerly winds early. Look for building WNW winds around the 10-14 knot range by the afternoon.


North Pacific
For the next few days we aren’t going to see much swell from the NPAC. However…things are starting to improve in the storm track and we will likely be getting a new WNW-NW swell (290-300+) arriving around September 13th…it won’t be macking or anything but it does look like the better winter spots could be around shoulder high+ as this one peaks. Check out how this swell is brewing up…

Sorry going to weather-nerd out for a moment…As with most of our swell producing storms in the North Pacific, this is being driven by a mix of extra-tropical energy from over by Japan and a colder, higher latitude, low-pressure that moves off of Kamchatka/Russia/Siberia. Generally you get this warm moist low moving out of the tropics, somtimes as the remnants of some dissipating tropical storm, that moves into the upper latitudes, (which is where the term “extra-tropical” comes from)…as it makes this move it tries to bleed off a lot of the excess latent heat energy in the form of wind. If the storm, like it did in this case, encounters a colder low-pressure/front the process is intensified and the winds get strong quickly. You can see on the QUIKscat image above that the core of the storm is already close to 50+ knots.

Eventually this new combined, and energized, storm pushes further east into the Gulf of Alaska and in the process sets up some fetch for Socal before it gets to far north and moves out of our swell window.

Hopefully this storm will move slow enough, or come in a little lower in latitude, that we might get a bigger shot of swell from it…don’t hold your breath or anything, but we do have a couple more days worth of development out of this system…cross your fingers that it comes together a little better.

South Pacific
Still pretty quiet in the South Pacific…but things are starting to look a little better on the long-range charts. Still nothing great out there forecastwise, but I think we can take the Southern California summer spots off the “suicide-watch” that we might have tailspun into if something didn’t form up soon.

In the short-range we can expect some small SW energy (200-210) holding through the 9th before fading out. The surf will continue to hold around knee-waist high, but a few of the standouts will have some chest high sets.

Further out on the forecast charts there is some slightly better looking storm action. We have a couple of storms, one underneath New Zealand and another over by Chile that will both likely send us some swell. This next round of swell, both SE (170-180) and SW (205-220) will begin arriving on September 12th but peaking into the 13-14th with chest high+ waves at the best exposed spots. Those waves will hang around for a few days and it looks like more similar sized SW energy will help to reinforce the first pulse around the 15-16th.

Even further out it looks like a better set of fetch is forecast to form in about 2-3 days that could set up a better angled S-SSW swell (180-200) for around the 18-19th of September. Again nothing huge, but it will be a more consistent chest-shoulder high sets for the better summer spots.

Northeast Pacific Tropics
TS Linda just formed this morning, rapidly intensifying from a tropical depression, and will likely be classified as a hurricane by later tonight or on Tuesday. Unfortunately Linda is pretty far away from land, and even though she is making a slow curve to the WNW-NW over the next couple of days, she doesn’t look like much of a wave-maker.

As with all of these storms, a lot is going to depend on how she behaves as she intensifies. If she can stall out, or move back against the grain (of the normal hurricane pattern) then the odds of getting a swell increase. At this point I think we are going to see a little tiny pulse of tropical SW swell that will arrive late Thursday, and then hang in the background over the weekend. It won’t be big enough to ride on its own, but hopefully it will help flesh out the other weak SW southern hemi swell enough to make things a bit more fun. Again, don’t hold your breath…but it is worth keeping an eye on just the same.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster


Anonymous said...

Thanks Adam i really enjoy reading these long range forecasts!!!!!!!!! I get stoked on finding out where in the pacific the waves i'm riding are actually coming from! I really think your the most accurate forecast dude out there, so keep up the good work brotha!

cheerupcheerio said...

agreed.... So there's a chance of some combo swells for the 13th-ish?

Alex Merrick said...

You bring hope! Thank you!