Monday, December 14, 2009

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 12/14/2009

Forecast Overview

Local windswell will drop away as the clouds and leftovers of the weekend’s storm finally move out of the area on Tuesday. A couple of fun-sized WNW pulses push in through the week, one arriving on Tuesday and another on Thursday…both of which will keep the WNW facing breaks in some fun-rideable surf. Warmer temps, and mostly clean conditions will be on tap for most of the week.

Short Range (next 4 days)

We will see a mix of backing off WNW-NW windswell, some new medium-period WNW swell (280-300), and some trace SW energy. Most WNW facing breaks will be in the waist-chest high range. Standout NW facing spots, particularly the breaks that like the medium-short swell periods, will be in the chest-shoulder high range with some bigger sets mixing in on the good tides. San Diego South County standouts continue to look larger than other areas thanks to more exposure to the NW energy. Winds/Weather: Mostly light and variable to light offshore winds in the morning, clean conditions for most areas, with a few clouds still lingering at times. NW winds around 10-12 knots will be on tap for the afternoon.

Look for similar, if not a touch smaller sizes on Wednesday. We will have a mix of holding WNW energy (280-300), fading leftover windswell, and some slightly bigger SW swell (190-215). Most exposed spots will continue to run around waist high with some chest high sets. Standout NW facing breaks will have some shoulder high waves on the best sets. A new pulse of WNW swell (285-300) starts to move into exposed areas by midday and will add some more size to the Northern Counties (Santa Barbara and Ventura) by the afternoon. Winds/Weather: Light and variable to light-offshore for the morning. Afternoon NW winds hold around 10-12 knots.

New WNW swell (285-300 again with most of the energy coming in 290+) will peak, as it mixes with background SW energy (190-215) and some local NW windswell. Most WNW-facing breaks will be in the waist-chest high range but I do expect a few less consistent sets hitting shoulder high and maybe a little bigger at times. The standout NW facing breaks, again the Ventura, South Bay, and San Diego NW standouts, will have consistent chest-shoulder high surf with sets going head high and a bit overhead at times. The top breaks of Southern San Diego, will be more consistently shoulder-overhead on sets with a few bigger waves hitting on the lower tides. Winds/Weather: Clean conditions will be on tap for the morning, mostly light/variable to light/offshore for the morning. WNW winds around 8-10 knots holds through the afternoon.

The WNW-NW swell (now 290-300) will continue to hold some ok size into the morning but may back off a bit more by the afternoon. We can still expect a lot of waist-chest high+ surf at the better WNW facing breaks. NW standout spots will be more in the chest-shoulder occasionally head high range but with a few bigger sets as you move down into Southern San Diego. Winds/Weather: Forecasts are calling for another day of light morning winds and sunny skies. Should be nice surfing weather through the morning and only moderate onshore NW winds through the afternoon.


North Pacific
The NPAC continues to show some strong storm activity for both the short and long-range portions of the forecast. Currently we have a decent-sized, but not all that intense. Low pressure hanging just on the W-WNW side of the Gulf of Alaska. This storm is managing to set up some fetch for Socal, but most of the “good” energy is still a little too far to the north to send a good shot of swell our direction. As it stands we can expect a moderate/small WNW pulse (280-300) that hits Tuesday and fades Wednesday. A second following storm, that you can see the short-range forecast charts...

…will be sending in a slightly stronger, and better positioned, WNW swell (280-300 but with more energy below 290-degrees), that will arrive in the northerly counties late on Wednesday but really peak on Thursday before backing down slightly on Friday.

Long-range charts are showing more activity pushing in from the NW Pacific, and setting up shop N-NNE of the Hawaiian Islands in about 5-6 days. If this can live up to forecasts we would be looking at another long-period WNW swell heading our way for around the 22-23rd. More details on this one as we get closer.

South Pacific
The SPAC is slightly more active than it has been the last couple of weeks. Looks like a fast moving front has spun off Antarctica and has set up some fetch in a little better position than the last few pulses of energy have managed to reach.

We can expect the last of the background SW energy to arrive on Wednesday Dec 16th with some knee-waist high waves at the SW facing breaks…and then a slightly larger waist-chest high S-SSW swell (180-200) moving in on the 20-22nd.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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