Monday, November 2, 2009

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 11/02/2009

Forecast Overview

We will have some rideable but fading NW swell showing through the middle of the week (when the tide isn’t swamping it out). Smaller less consistent SW energy will sort of wander around aimlessly in the background keeping the summer spots from being totally flat but not helping them be all that rideable either. A much stronger North Pacific storm is forecast to form later this week…chance for some larger NW swell this upcoming weekend.

Short Range (next 3 days)

Our small NW swell (290-300) will slowly start to fade while it mixes with some minor energy from the SW. We will still have some high-tide issues in the morning keeping shape soft…so don’t expect much to be able to break through as the tide peaks midmorning. Wave heights will be in the knee-waist high range at the average NW-WNW facing breaks. Standout NW facing spots, mostly through San Diego and parts of Ventura, will have more consistent waist high waves with some chest high sets mixing in. Overall shape and consistency improve as the tide drops. Winds/Weather: Nice conditions on tap through the morning…light and variable to light-offshore winds for the first part of the day. Chance for some pockets of fog out there as well. W winds around 10-12 knots build in through the afternoon.

The small mix of NW swell (290-300) and SW energy (200-220) will continue to back down slowly while local windswell starts to filter in from the outer waters. The average NW exposed spots and the ok combo breaks will have more knee-waist high waves. Standout NW facing spots will be more in the waist-to-inconsistent-chest high range. Again a 6’ high tide peaks right in midmorning (around 8:30-8:50am) and tries to flatten out the shape. Winds/Weather: Light and variable to light offshore for most areas…a few more fog pockets and areas of low clouds. Building W winds top out around 10-12 knots by the afternoon.

The NW’er (290-300) fades almost completely away while a new (but small and inconsistent) SW swell (210-220) moves in from the Southern Hemi. Some weak local windswell will also hold in the background. Wave heights don’t change much with most spots holding around knee-waist high on the better sets. Top NW/SW facing combo spots will see some occasional waist-chest high sets. Tide will still be an issue by Thursday…but the peak of the high is pushing further back in the day…now closer to 9:30…try and avoid it if you can. Winds/Weather: Winds will be light and variable through the morning. W winds around 10-14 knots push onshore later in the afternoon.


North Pacific
The NPAC is starting to wake up from its short Halloween nap and I am seeing a lot of new activity in this afternoon’s forecast run. At this point it looks like most of the developing storm action is going to form a bit “northerly” for our swell window…but the storm looks big enough that we will get some fun surf from the edge of the fetch, and there is always a chance for more size if the system sets up a little lower in latitude as it forms over the next few days.
We do have a couple of little storms spinning around the mid-latitudes this afternoon that will pulse out some minor NW swell before the bigger swell arrives. We can expect a slight knee-chest high+ NW swell (290-300) arriving on Friday the 6th…nothing major by any means, but at least something to ride. Check it out…you can see part of the storm on the QuikSCAT data from this afternoon.

The main storm is forecast to form in about 3 days…this is another one of those intense storms that are formed by extra-tropical energy mixing together with a colder higher-latitude frontal storm. What is a little weird about this one is that it pulls energy from 2 extra-tropical systems…one from over by Japan and the other from a tropical wave near Hawaii. It looks like this double-dose of energy really fires up the initial intensity of the storm…and helps to swing it down into a more exposed position as it moves into the Gulf of Alaska. Check out the forecast Sea-Level-Pressure from FNMOC…

And here is the WavewatchIII sea-heights…I think my drawing sums up this storm nicely.

Swellwise, since the forecasts are calling for the majority of this storm’s energy to be fairly high up in the Gulf of Alaska, I am not expecting Southern California to get much more of a glancing shot of swell. Look for this new NW energy (290-300, but with lots more energy coming in 295+) to fill into SoCal throughout the day of the 7th and then peak overnight into the 8th. At this point it looks good for chest-shoulder high+ surf for the average WNW-NW facing spots…and shoulder-overhead sizes at the best NW facing spots like those in San Diego, Ventura, and the South Bay. It is worth noting that I am being a little conservative on the wave heights at this point…mostly because the storm hasn’t formed yet, but also because there is a lot of dynamic activity that takes place pretty close to our side of the Pacific…if the storm pops a little lower in latitude we could see more size added into the forecast.

Thoughts on Northern/Central California for this swell
Spots north of Point Conception have a chance to be pretty massive…the current model run is showing nearly 18-feet of deepwater energy around 16-17 seconds…and winds don’t look horrible either, though it may be raining up that way. The WNW-NW swell (285-320) arrives a day earlier there too…they would see long-period energy arrive on Friday (Nov 6th) and the peak of the swell hit Saturday (Nov 7th) and then fade slowly on Sunday. Sizewise…I would expect the average spots to be running an easy double-triple overhead with some bigger bombs mixing in. Deepwater spots like Mavs could easily see 20-25’ faces…with bigger sets…probably enough size to run the Mav’s contest if they wanted to.

South Pacific
The SPAC is still being a boring ocean…there has been a few little out of position storms but nothing that will be sending us any sort of significant surf…just some minor background pulses for the next couple of days and a slightly better SW’er for this upcoming weekend. This upcoming SW swell (210-220) will be from an ok but not great storm over by New Zealand that will send us an inconsistent waist-chest high SW swell (210-220) for around the 8-9th of November.

Northeast Pacific Tropics
Pretty quiet down this way…no new activity forecast to develop for the next few days.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster


Gilda said...

i was wondering, do the tide charts take into account daylight savings?

cheerupcheerio said...

There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Adam Wright said...


Yep they least on the ones I post on this site do.

It switched from LDT (Local Daylight time) to LST (Local Standard Time).

Most tide books and calendars do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

another sweet forecast! North of Point Conception gets bombs; socal gets bread crumbs.