Thursday, December 3, 2009

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 12/03/2009

Forecast Overview

Our surf will slowly increase over the weekend as we see a series of new WNW-NW swells and building local WNW windswell (that very likely brings along junky conditions as well). The swell will get progressively larger next week as more WNW-NW energy lines up for Monday/Tuesday and then a much bigger WNW swell hits later on Wednesday and peaks Thursday/Friday. Some rain is expected over the weekend but it looks like the long-range weather is showing some improvement.

Short Range (next 4 days)

The day will start a little slow with mostly leftover energy…but a new NW swell (290-300) will move in through the day and mix with background SW energy and local windswell. Look for the northerly counties to see this swell begin filling in through the morning…and the southerly counties, like OC and San Diego, to see size and consistency start to increase during the afternoon. Overall we can expect more knee-waist high+ surf at the average spots in the morning and some waist-chest high+ sets hitting the standout NW facing breaks. I expect some shoulder-head high sets to mix in through the Ventura spots by midday…SD will have similar sizes coming through by sundown. Winds/Weather: N-NE winds around 10-12 knots for the morning…setting up clean conditions with mostly offshore flow. Mild to moderate onshore flow builds in through the afternoon.

The mix of new NW swell (290-300) will peak as the weaker windswell and SW energy hold in the background. Average spots can expect surf in the waist-chest high+ range while the standout NW facing spots, mostly in the Ventura, South Bay, and San Diego areas, can expect chest-head high surf with some head high+ sets on the better parts of the tide swing. Winds/Weather: Winds are forecast to be a little dicey in the morning but it won’t be unmanageable. Look for light onshore flow for Santa Barbara, Ventura, and North LA. Light/variable winds will be on tap further south. Look for building W-WSW winds around 10-15 knots for the afternoon.

The surf is looking bit sloppy as onshore winds hold through the day thanks to a couple of passing cold-fronts. Swellwise we will have a mix of dropping NW energy (290-300) and some building local W windswell…SW swell sort of sits and spins with a bucket on its head like the strange neighbor kid does sometimes. Our surf will be in the chest high range for most spots while the top NW facing breaks see some more chest-head high sets at times. Unfortunately conditions don’t look very appetizing. Winds/Weather: SW-W winds around 10-15 knots for the morning, some rain showers at times. W-SW winds 10-15+ knots on tap for the afternoon.

New WNW swell (285-300) moves in and mixes with the leftovers from the weekend and the steady local windswell. Most spots won’t see a big jump in energy through the early morning but expect this swell to fill in more through the afternoon. Average breaks will be in the waist-chest high range for the morning and then hit more chest-shoulder high range by the afternoon. Standout NW facing breaks hold around chest-shoulder high through the early parts of the day and then hit more head high and head high+ sizes by sundown. Winds/Weather: W winds 10-15+ knots expected for the morning, some rain, and just general nastiness at times. More onshore winds and crap holds into the afternoon.


North Pacific
Well we are one day closer to that crazy looking storm mix that is forecast to form later this weekend…and the models are continuing to hold together. The bright-red wave-height meatball continues to dominate the charts and the odds of getting a significant sized WNW swell are getting better and better.

If you read my Swell/Storm Alert then you already have most of the details on this “complex” low-pressure that is forecast to kick some ass around the North Pacific in the next few days. Since this storm has several different components all swirling around a central anchor/axis we will actually see some decent-sized WNW swell hitting a couple of days before the big swell is set to hit. Here is a shot of this first storm on the GOES Satellites…

Look for the first shot of WNW energy (285-300) to fill on Mon Dec 7th and then peak on Tues Dec 8th with surf in the chest-head high range at the average NW spots and overhead surf at the standouts.

The big WNW swell (280-300) fills in throughout the day on Wednesday the 9th with the energy likely peak Thursday the 10th and then still hold surf into Friday and the following weekend before it slowly fades out. It is still important to remember that this part of the storm hasn’t actually formed yet so wave heights aren’t totally set in stone…but, if the storm lives up to the forecast run we will likely see a very large shot of WNW swell with the primarly part of the incoming energy in the 290-300-degree range. At this point I am expecting consistent shoulder-overhead surf at the average WNW facing breaks…and then solid well-overhead to double-overhead sizes at the standout NW breaks as this baby peaks. There is a good chance that Central and Southerly San Diego County standouts will have even more size since those areas have more exposure to the NW energy.

A note on the weather it looks like the long-range weather charts are starting to show some signs of improving as this swell shows…unfortunately the models don’t really agree with each other and the differences are pretty significant. Usually when this happens the potential “stormy” weather gets downgraded and the forecast becomes more favorable…cross your fingers that it happens this time…I think we would all love to get some of this swell to pair up with decent conditions.

South Pacific
Still a few background pulses of SW energy will be filtering through this weekend…nothing bigger than waist-chest high at the best breaks, but still some energy nonetheless. Looks like a slightly bigger SW’er (200-220) will move in on the 8th and peak into the 9th with surf in the waist-chest high range, but with most of the energy being swallowed up by the much larger WNW swell.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, December 7th, 2009

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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