Monday, September 21, 2009

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 9/21/2009

Forecast Overview
Look for the small/playful sized combo swell mix to continue for the next few days as new SW and NW swells move in to blend with the fading energy from the weekend. Clean conditions and better tides will help to keep shape fun for the next few mornings.

Short Range (next 3 days)

We have a new SSW (190-205) moving and mixing with the fading NW/SSW energy from the weekend. Local NW windswell will be on the rise...but will be a bit too NW’erly for many spots. Look for surf in the waist-chest high range for most of the average breaks. Top SSW facing breaks and the excellent combo breaks, will be in the chest-shoulder high range on the lower tides. Winds/Weather: Conditions look clean for the morning with mostly light/variable to light offshore flow. Look for W-WNW winds around 10-12 knots for the afternoon.

The mix of swells will back down as the SSW’er (190-205) drops slowly and the NW energy starts to fade out as well. Still plenty of knee-waist high+ waves showing at the average exposed spots. Standout breaks will be more in the waist-chest high range but can expect some inconsistent shoulder high sets slipping through at the top SSW facing breaks. Winds/Weather: Clean conditions continue…mostly light and variable for the morning. WNW winds around 10-12 knots move in through the afternoon.

Wave heights will hold as we see some more minor SW swell (190-220) pulses up over the leftovers of the earlier SSW’er and we see a slight increase in NW swell activity. Look for the average spots to be back in the knee-waist high range with some less consistent chest high sets. Best spots hold more in the waist-chest high range with some inconsistent chest-shoulder high waves. Looks like the best waves will show at the SW facing standouts...which will be slightly different than the more southerly swell that hit earlier in the week...try and pick your spots accordingly. Winds/Weather: Winds continue to look good…mostly light and variable to even light offshore for the morning…and just moderate NW winds (10-12 knots) by the afternoon.


North Pacific
We have seen sort of spotty storm action in the North Pacific over the last few days...nothing particular interesting or significant in terms of swell production. There have been a couple of high latitude systems that have pushed underneath the Aleutians on the way to the Gulf of Alaska...but not much of their fetch was inside the SoCal swell window. As a result we are going to see some weak, but steady, NW energy (290-300) coming in over the next few days in the form of both windswell and slightly longer-period (9-13 period) stuff. Look for knee-waist high waves at the top NW spots for Tues-Wed of this week...and then a slight increase to waist-chest high surf by Thursday as the next pulse fills in. Similar sized energy will hold through Friday and into early Saturday.

Further Out the former super-typhoon Choi-Wan is finally going extra-tropical over in the West Pacific and is really starting to energize a colder low-pressure in the higher-latitudes. Check out the shot of wind speeds from the QuikSCAT satellite...

That big black streak is winds breaking the 50-knot mark...this is a pretty typical pattern for a storm going extra-tropical. These typhoon/hurricane/cyclone systems, while they can be very intense and deadly, are generally pretty small in size while they are in their tropical forms. As they start to push out of their tropical regions and into the colder mid- and high-latitudes they undergo a rapid cooling which, though a couple of different processes, forces the storm to expel excess heat energy in the form of wind/rain (basically the usual nastiness expected with a storm). It also starts to take on the characteristics of the more common cold front, basically becoming larger in size but less intense and destructive (these being relative terms) at the core of the storm. If the tropical storm happens to run into an already strong cold front the results can be pretty spectacular. It sucks to be in the vicinity of a storm going through this process, but it can be pretty awesome from a swell production standpoint if things pull together properly.

In this case with looks like the storm is “popping” a bit too deep in the Western Pacific to send Southern California much of a swell...forecast charts are showing the storm intensifying as it makes a NE track up to the Aleutian Islands and then staying much too high in latitude to put much fetch in our swell window. It does however look like it will send a pretty solid early season NW swell to Hawaii (peaks there with well overhead waves on the 24th)...and a good sized, overhead+, WNW swell (285-320+) to Northern California that fills in on the 26th but peaks the 27th.

For Socal we will see a much smaller version of these swells. We will have new NW swell (290-300+) starting to push some small long-period energy in late on 26th...fill in more on the 27th, eventually peaking the afternoon of the 27th into the morning of the 28th. At this point it looks like we are going to get waist-chest high sized surf at the average NW facing NW breaks, mostly in San Diego and Ventura, will see chest-shoulder high sets. There will be a lot of shadowing to this swell so don’t expect much showing outside of the top winter breaks.

South Pacific
Still not a ton going on down in the SPAC...most of the storm activity has been pretty zonal...but the backsides of a few of the more intense systems have managed to push out some playful S-SW swells. This week we can expect a series of playful, but inconsistent at times, SSW-SW swells (190-220).

New S-SSW swell (180-200) peaked on Sunday the 20th and holds waves through the 21st. Another similar sized SSW swell (180-205) moves in on the 22nd and holds more waist-chest high+ waves through the middle of next week.

Further Out More playful waist-chest high SW swell (190-210) starts moving in late on the 26th and peaks on the 27-28th. Past that...forecast charts are calling for a decent looking storm to push across the SPAC in the next 3-5 days...if it lives up to the forecast we could see more chest-shoulder high S-SW swell (180-210) moving in around the 2-3rd of October.

Northeast Pacific Tropics
Not much going on in the tropics right now...we have a tropical disturbance that is hanging down SSW of the tip of Baja...but any development in the system is expected to be very slow (if it occurs at all). No swell expected from this region at this time.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love you, man!