Thursday, January 21, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 1/21/2010

Forecast Overview

Supersize W-WNW swell peaks on Friday and holds Saturday before starting to slowly fade as we move into next week. The weather finally breaks by Friday night, drying up slightly but staying sort of onshore windy on Saturday. Sunday looks significantly cleaner…and a lot more manageable as the swell drops. More WNW swell, and some weak S swells, will be on tap through next week.

Short Range (next 4 days)

A massive lump of W-WNW swell hits on Friday…for areas like San Diego and the South Bay it will likely be the biggest that it has been all week (oddly Ventura will be about the same as the last couple of days due to shadowing from the nearshore islands). Look for pretty much any spot that has W exposure to be running well-overhead. Top W-WNW facing spots, like SD and the South Bay, will be double-triple overhead pretty consistently and we can expect some bigger sets lurking around through the morning as the swell peaks. Winds/Weather: Winds don’t look very good for this one…current models are looking for SW-W winds 15-20 knots through the morning. Those winds shift more W-NW around 10-15+ knots for the afternoon. Rain is expected to continue throughout the day.

Still lots of swell in the water on Saturday but we will be moving past the peak of the swell. The weather starts to break too…not enough to clean things up, but at least we will start to dry out. Still expect well-overhead surf for all average W-WNW spots. Standout WNW breaks, again in the South Bay and San Diego, can expect more double-overhead+ surf with some sets still nearing that triple-overhead range. There definitely will be plenty of water still moving around. Winds/Weather: NW winds develop behind the last of this storm…so it won’t clean up all that much on Saturday. Look for WNW-NW winds around 10-15 knots for the morning with some stronger gusts around Santa Barbara and Ventura. 10-15+ knot winds continue out of the W-NW for the afternoon.

We will finally see a significant shift in conditions as well as a major drop in swell-size. Areas that were fairly shadowed from the full shot of W-WNW energy, like most of Orange County, Santa Barbara, and most of North LA, will drop off the quickest…those areas can expect consistent surf in the shoulder-head high range at the average W-WNW facing breaks. Standout breaks in those areas will still pull in some overhead+ sets. Better exposed spots in San Diego, Ventura, and the South Bay, will be running consistently overhead+ with sets still going a few feet+ overhead, particularly through the morning. Winds/Weather: Light and variable winds through the morning…even some light offshore flow at times. Winds stay light…sort of variable below 10 knots through the afternoon. We will also have sunny skies and a chance to dry out a bit. Keep in mind that the water quality will continue to be very poor thanks to all that rain…and that it may need a couple more dry days to improve.

We will have a mix of leftover W-WNW swell from the weekend…and another pulse of W-WNW swell (275-300) coming out of a storm hanging just off the California Coast. There will also be a little more S-SW swell from the Southern Hemi, but it will mostly get lost in the more dominant WNW energy. Look for the average exposed spots to hold around chest-head high with some less consistent overhead sets. Standout WNW-NW spots will be going shoulder-overhead with some sets still reaching a couple of feet overhead at times. Weather looks OK for the morning but yet another storm is expected to start to arrive later in the afternoon…likely bringing a few showers and S winds by the evening and holding overnight into Tuesday.


North Pacific
Like I said in the short-range part of the forecast…a large W-WNW swell hits the coast on Friday and holds into Saturday before starting to drop off on Sunday, and since this bad-boy had plenty of size/duration, we can expect energy from this one to linger through at least the first part of next week. Check out the WINDSAT pass of this part of the storm while it was still a ways off our coast.

We also have another storm setting up in the mid-latitudes, just south of the Gulf of Alaska…this new storm will set up more WNW swell (275-300) that will arrive later on Monday (Jan 25) and hold through Tuesday (Jan 26)…possibly bringing some rain and S winds as well. This one, since it will be combo-ing up with the leftovers from the weekend, will help to push the surf back into the shoulder-overhead range for most exposed breaks and sets going a couple of feet+ overhead at the standouts. This swell will fade out on Wednesday while conditions improve…despite the dropping swell we can expect plenty of waves through mid-week. Check out the pressure chart on this one…as you can see it is quite a bit smaller than the previous storm.

Further out there is more activity starting to brew up just to the NW of Hawaii…this is forecast to become more organized as we move through the weekend…possibly setting up more WNW swell for around the 28th…and maybe more weather as well…we will have to keep an eye on it.

South Pacific
Finally starting to see a little sign of life down in the SPAC…there has been a moderate/mild storm hanging down off Antarctica due south of Socal over the last couple of days. It hasn’t done anything super impressive, winds have held around 30-35 knots, but it has held semi-stationary with just a touch of S-to-N movement that pushed the winds in our direction. We can expect a small pulse of S swell (180-190) starting to show on Monday-Tuesday (Jan 25-26) and then a slightly stronger pulse of S energy (175-190) pushing in around Wednesday (Jan 27).

Don’t expect much more than chest high from these guys…but since the WNW swell will be more manageable around that time…we might see a few fun combo peaks starting to slip through.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, January 25th, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster


Anonymous said...

Combo swell? What's a combo swell?

Anonymous said...

Rombo swell?
Scooby, scappy doo?
Is that you guys?
Get back in the mystery machine!