Monday, December 28, 2009

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 12/28/2009

Forecast Overview

WNW energy begins fading on Tuesday and backs down through midweek when then weather will get a bit wonky. Look for cleaner conditions and new WNW-NW energy moving in on New Years even and into New Years day. Plenty more where that came from too, looks like lots of waves in the forecast. Though with the water so cold I am thinking about getting one of those heated wetsuit thingies.

Short Range (next 4 days)

Our WNW swell mix (280-300) will be fading, losing both size and seeing the swell period drop down into the 13-14 second ranges. Small S-SW swells continue to hold in the background but don’t add a ton of size to the swell mix. Look for average spots to continue to see consistent chest-shoulder high surf. Better WNW facing breaks see some chest-head high sets and the Standout NW spots (in Ventura, the South Bay, and South San Diego) see more consistent shoulder-overhead surf with a few sets still going overhead+ through the morning. Winds/Weather: Winds look good for the morning…mostly light and variable to light/moderate offshore. Looks like most of the offshore flow will be through Santa Barbara and down through Northern LA. Spots further south will have lighter, but still clean, conditions on tap. Look for WNW winds around 10-15 knots to push in through the afternoon.

The WNW swell continues to drop and turn a touch more NW’erly in swell direction as we move throughout the day. The average spots will fade down into the waist-chest high range while the standout NW breaks see some chest-shoulder high surf and rare bigger sets on the lower tides. Winds/Weather: Weather starts to get a little funky looking through the midweek…NW winds are forecast to spin up in the outer waters, setting up a bit of an eddy-looking circulation near the Coast. Look for NW winds around 10-13 knots for Santa Barbara/Ventura…sort of SE-ESE through LA, and S-SSE for San Diego and OC. Overall I am not expecting great conditions through Wednesday…and we might even see a touch of rain/drizzle as the front driving these winds pushes through the area.

Thursday – New Year's Eve
We see a new pulse of WNW-NW energy (285-300) that comes through in the form of both local windswell and a bit of medium period energy from storms a touch further off the coast. Most spots will continue to see surf in the waist-chest high range with some inconsistent shoulder high waves moving through by the afternoon. Look for the top NW spots to be in the chest-head high range with some bigger waves moving in by the end of the day. Winds/Weather: Weather will improve on Thursday as new ridge of high-pressure starts to rebuild over Socal. Look for mostly light and variable to light offshore winds for the morning and just moderate NW flow around 10-12 knots developing through the afternoon.

Friday – New Year's Day
Mix of windswell and medium-period WNW-NW energy (285-300) continues on Friday, possibly even filling in a little better down towards San Diego (compared to how it did on Thursday). Most spots continue with the chest-shoulder high surf while the top NW facing spots hold more in the chest-head high range with some head high+ sets. Winds/Weather: Looks nice at this point…mostly light and variable winds and slightly warmer beach temps. Expect clean conditions through the morning and light/mild onshore flow through the mid-afternoon.


North Pacific
There is still a lot of stuff going on in the NPAC with plenty of storm activity roaming around in our swell window. At this point it looks like we have a series of overlapping WNW-NW swells headed our way for at minimum the next 7-8 days and very likely more on the way after that.

Check out the current set up…I know that I have mentioned the term “complex low-pressure” in the past, well we have another one developing. Basically there is a fairly stationary low pressure holding over the Aleutians/Bering Sea that is helping to swing a train of storms through the mid-latitudes.

Based on this forecast and what has formed over last few days…we can expect the current WNW swell mix to back down through mid-week, never quite dropping out completely but definitely smaller than Mon/Tues. Then new WNW-NW energy arrives on Thursday and helps to hold us in fun-size+ surf through Thurs/Friday. More overlapping pulses of WNW swell hit on Saturday and Sunday and it looks like more on tap for Monday and Tuesday of next week.

What is really interesting about this latest run is the larger low-pressure that is set to form on the last frame of the animation. (I stall out the video so you can check it out). Basically it looks like the “anchor-low” in the upper latitudes swings around and scoops up a warmer low-pressure and pulls it into some extra-tropical goodness. This helps to generate a much larger and more intense system…check out how it shows on the wavewatchIII swell model.

As you can see it looks like a large shot of WNW swell heading for Hawaii by mid-next week (5-6th). If you measure out the distance it looks like Socal would see this swell on the 8-10th…likely peaking more on the 9-10th but depending on how much energy is cranked out in the longer-periods. It is way to early to guess on sizes but if it lives up to even this portion of the forecast it could be good for at least some overhead+ surf at the top spots. I will keep you posted as we get closer.

South Pacific
Is this still an ocean? I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on the South Pacific…the NPAC is definitely picking up all of the slack, but man it would be nice to have a bit more combo to the swell. At this point there aren’t really any sort of significant Southern Hemi swells in the water, and none on the forecast. We are mostly just going to see a low-level background buzz of SW energy that never really stops but never really does anything for us either. Long-range charts are showing a slightly better looking SW pulse (but still very shadowed and small compared to the NPAC energy) hitting around Jan 10th.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

1 comment:

surf lessons los angeles said...

Thanks for the four day forecast. Too bad I'm on vacation! :[ Nooooo. It'll be better once I'm back. Tear it up!