Monday, January 25, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 1/25/2010

Forecast Overview

New WNW-NW swell moves in on Tuesday and brings a little more rain and S-SE winds to Socal. The weather moves out on Wednesday (though the winds shift a little more onshore) and the WNW-NW swell holds. Expect fading WNW-NW energy to mix with more S-SSW swell by Thursday and into early Friday. Another overhead WNW-NW swell moves in late Friday and peaks over the weekend.

Short Range (next 4 days)

New WNW-NW swell (275-300) moves in on Tuesday and mixes with some building S-SW windswell and a some background S-SSW energy (180-210). Most W facing breaks, and the average combo spots, will be in the chest-shoulder high range with some head high sets mixing in at times. The standout WNW-NW facing breaks, as well as the excellent W-NW combo breaks, will see consistent shoulder-overhead surf with sets going a couple of feet+ overhead. Shape will be a little soft in the morning thanks to an early high tide…but look for more size and consistency as the tide backs down. Winds/Weather: S-SE winds 10-15+ knots on tap for the morning…increasing clouds and a chance of rain by the middle of the day. S-SSW winds 10-20 knots are expected by the afternoon.

The mix of WNW-NW swell (275-300) and the background southerly energy will hold…still a little soft during the morning…but steady at the exposed areas. Look for more chest-head high surf at the average W facing breaks and some overhead+ sets showing at the standout WNW-NW facing spots. Shape will be suspect due to onshore winds…but a few areas look like they will be light enough to have some fun. Winds/Weather: Light W winds around 10-12 knots on tap for the morning. W-WNW winds 10-15+ knots move in through the afternoon but may lighten up a touch near the end of the day.

Looks like a good surf day…the WNW-NW swell (280-300) will be backing off but still holding enough energy to keep rideable waves at the exposed spots. S swell (180-200) will get a new push of energy, enough to make a noticeable difference in size at the S-facing spots. Look for the average spots to hold around chest-shoulder high. Standout WNW/S swell combo spots will be in the chest-head high range with a few overhead sets mixing in on the lower tides. Winds/Weather: Light and variable to light offshore winds on tap for the morning and mostly dry clean conditions for all areas. Look for variable onshore flow around 10-12 knots by the afternoon.

Starts off with mostly leftovers from the WNW and slowly fading S swell (180-200). Most breaks will back into the waist-chest high range with some shoulder high+ sets showing at the better combo spots. By the afternoon a new WNW-NW swell (280-300) begins arriving with some long-period energy (around the 18-20 second range)…it won’t show a ton of new surf before sundown but it will help to increase size and consistency up around Ventura (and the spots in Santa Barbara that like longer-periods…not that there are many of them). At this point it looks like the peak of this new WNW-NW swell will arrive on Saturday.


North Pacific

Still plenty of activity showing in the North Pacific…though compared to that last week it seems like the ocean is on “mute” or something. The current set up in the NPAC is actually a bit similar to what we had last week but with a lot less intensity. There is still a complex low-pressure holding position in the far north portion of the Gulf of Alaska…and there are still storms moving through the mid-latitudes on the complex-low merry-go-round. These mid-latitude systems are the ones setting up our various swells this week. Check out the Visible Satellite image from NOAA/GOES…

The storm that set up the swell for Tuesday is just moving through the waters off the West Coast and will pass part of its front over the region before heading off to the NE. There is a second embedded front close on its heels but it will just help to reinforce the first WNW-NW swell into Wednesday. Further off to the West you can see a much more intense low-pressure forming to the N of Hawaii. This one is forecast to pull into a better position in our swell window over the next 48 hours…

…setting up a decent WNW-NW swell (280-300) that arrives later on Friday…

…that eventually peaks on Saturday with surf in the shoulder-head high+ range at the average W facing breaks and sets going a couple to a few feet overhead at the top spots. This swell will be a lot cleaner than the ones we saw this last weekend (and the one coming in on Tuesday) since the storm sits a little further off the coast and lets the swell groom out some of the shorter-period fluff.

Further out the charts continue to be pretty active…the extreme long-range GFS charts have a couple more storms forming in about 5-6 days that, if they pull together, will have another round or two of WNW-NW swell heading our way for the first couple days of February.

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 Tuesday (Jan 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 Thursday, January 28th, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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