Thursday, December 17, 2009

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 12/17/2009

Forecast Overview

Fun WNW-NW swell and clean conditions will continue to push in Friday, Saturday, and Early Sunday. More WNW swell and possibly some stormy conditions arrive early next week, but even with the weather getting funky it looks like we are going to have some sort of surf showing all the way up through Christmas…which makes this winter officially 1000 times better than last winter.

Short Range (next 3 days)

Our WNW swell mix (275-300 with most of the energy around 290-300) will drop a touch but continue to hold plenty of rideable waves at the exposed breaks. Look for most W-WNW facing spots to continue to see waist-chest high+ surf with some shoulder high sets on the lower tides. Top WNW-NW facing breaks will run in the chest-head high range with some inconsistent overhead waves showing at times, particularly through Southern San Diego as well as parts of Ventura and the South Bay. Winds/Weather: Winds look good, though it will be chilly through the morning. Look for mostly light offshore to light and variable winds, with a few spots north of LA county seeing some moderate offshore flow early in the day. Mild onshore winds push in through the afternoon but never build past 10-14 knots in most areas.

The run of WNW energy will continue on Saturday…nothing big, but still enough swell to send in some fun waves to the exposed spots. Wave heights dip a touch more with the average breaks holding around waist-chest high and the standouts backing down to about shoulder-head high on the sets. A few of the best combo breaks (since there is a little SSW’er in the water as well) will have a few random bigger sets, but don’t expect those to show very often. Winds/Weather: Light winds again in the morning, even a few spots with light/moderate offshore flow. Look for NW winds around 10-12 knots pushing through by mid-afternoon.

WNW swell (280-300) continues to send in waves as it mixes with some background SSW energy. Look for more waist-chest high waves at the average W facing breaks. Standout WNW-NW facing spots, again in the usual areas, will see some chest-shoulder high waves with a few bigger sets possibly starting to arrive in the Santa Barbara/Ventura area late in the afternoon (as another round of WNW swell starts to move in). Winds/Weather: Winds will be light and variable in the morning but it looks like the onshore flow will strengthen into the 12-15 knot range by the afternoon. Expect cloud-cover to increase and air temps to start cooling as another cold front starts to move into our area.


North Pacific
Lots and lots of activity breaking loose in the NPAC in this latest model run…nothing super massive…but in some ways the current set up is better than getting one big swell. Instead of a one hit wonder it looks like we are going to see a string of moderate strength storms push through both the Western and Eastern North Pacific, setting up a steady stream of WNW-NW swell for at least the next several days and a real possibility of holding on till at least Christmas (see there is a Santa Claus!). Check out the video I put together of both the GFS (weather/wind/pressure model) and the WavewatchIII wave heights…

As you can see the low-pressures just cycle through the mid-upper latitudes across the whole of the North Pacific, nothing getting particularly intense, but still sending out plenty of fun to decent sized WNW-NW swells.

Now a lot of the swell in the forecast is from storms that haven’t formed yet but at this point it looks like we will see the WNW swell that peaked on Thursday (Dec 17) hold through Sunday. This will be followed/overlapped by a similar sized, possibly stronger, W-WNW swell that hits on Monday (and possibly brings some bad weather with it). Further Out the forecast charts are showing more WNW swell arriving around Wed (Dec 22) and holding more chest-head high surf at the top NW spots through the 23-24th…and yet another swell possibly hitting on Christmas. Needless to say that a few of these swells are a waaays out, so we will have to keep an eye on them as the storms form over the next several days.

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 Monday, December 21st, 2009

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

video is a nice touch, thanks.