Thursday, February 4, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 2/04/2010

Forecast Overview

More W-NW swell arrives over the weekend (along with some stormy S winds and rain) setting up overhead+ surf at the well exposed spots as the swell mix peaks Sunday and into early Monday. More NW swell is on tap for early next week, but more storminess and more stormswell will be on tap for the second half of next week. Looks like a good-sized, possibly well-overhead, WNW-NW swell for Valentines Day weekend. (Happy V-day honey…I went on a surf trip! …uh surprise!).

Short Range (next 4 days)

Friday will start on the slow side in the morning…we will see mostly leftover WNW energy, and a little local windswell, at most spots. Average WNW facing breaks will be in the knee-waist high range while the standout NW exposed spots will have some inconsistent chest-shoulder high sets still sneaking in. A new, stormy W-WNW swell (260-300) will start to arrive through the day, showing mostly in Santa Barbara and Ventura during actual daylight, and then filling in the more southern regions after dark. Shape doesn’t look that great for most areas on Friday thanks to steady S-SE winds…but not every spots is going to be blown out by those winds, so you might keep an eye on the protected spots as the new energy begins pushing in late in the day. Winds/Weather: Looks a bit stormy with S-SE winds 10-15 knots showing across the county for the morning and then gusts hitting up around 20-25+ knots for the afternoon. Showers are expected to push south through the day as well so expect a little more wet weather.

The short-period W-WNW stormswell (260-300) will mix with the start of a new, longer-period WNW-NW swell (280-300) that begins filling in the SB/Ven areas through the afternoon and pushes down the coast to LA/OC/SD after sunset. Average spots will be in the chest-head high range on Saturday with some overhead sets mixing in at the top WNW-NW wind/stormswell spots. Santa Barbara and Ventura may have some bigger/punchier sets showing before sundown if the swell gets a chance to fill in a bit before sunset. Winds/Weather: Weather doesn’t look all that great…S winds 10-15 knots and rain on tap for the morning and NW winds 10-20 knots pushing in behind the front.

The W-WNW storm-swell (260-300) and the new WNW-NW swell (280-300) will peak on Sunday...with the biggest surf likely arriving through the afternoon. Average W-WNW facing spots will be chest-head high with some overhead sets mixing in at times. Top WNW-NW facing spots will be head high to a couple of feet overhead with some sets going well-overhead at times. Winds/Weather: Weather looks a little better than Saturday but it will still be pretty unstable…current models are showing some N-NNW winds holding around 10-15 knots through the morning and then NW gusts around 20 knots by the afternoon. Neither of these directions are very good…but there is a chance of the winds being lighter or at least coming out of better direction is the storm front pushes through the area faster than the current forecast run is calling for.

The energy from the weekend, the W-NW storm/wind/and medium swell period mix will be backing down but another new NW swell (290-300) will be pushing in as they fade out…I am not expecting a tone of size or consistency out of this one but it will help keep us in rideable sizes. Look for chest-head high surf at the average WNW facing spots and some overhead+ sets still showing at the NW standouts, particularly down in San Diego. Winds/Weather: A lot depends on how fast the weekends craptacular weather moves out on Sat/Sun…the current forecast is showing for light and variable winds on tap for Monday morning…and then just moderate/mild WNW winds developing for the afternoon.


North Pacific
The NPAC continues to crank out storm after storm, lining up swell for the weekend, next week, and following weekend.

Our next round of WNW-NW energy is looking a bit stormy…forecasts are calling for another round of storms to start moving in late Friday and holding through the weekend. As a result we are going to have a mix of short-period W-WNW (260-300) and some longer-period WNW-NW energy (280-300) that will start filling on Saturday (Feb 6) and peaking Sunday…before fading on Monday. Check out the latest GOES satellite shot…

Further out we will have another, smaller but more organized, NW swell (290-300) that arrives on Monday and helps overlap the fading energy from the weekend. The new swell, along with cleaner conditions should help Monday be more of a surf day than we see Sat/Sun. Conditions are forecast to fall apart again (and bring in more short-period W-WNW energy) by Tues/Wed (Feb 9-10) as another storm front pushes more rain and S-SW winds through the region. I expect that this new storm swell will be good for more overhead surf at the well exposed spots…and will likely hold through Thursday and into Friday.

Even Further Out The big-ass North Pacific storm is still on the forecast charts and is still planning on sending a beefy WNW-NW swell to Hawaii around Feb 10-11th…check it out…

At this point it looks like the system will be another cranked up complex low-pressure…with the anchor low-pressure holding over the Aleutains, and a bunch of mid-latitude, extra-tropically enhanced, storms moving around the center. This, like I mentioned, will send a strong swell to Hawaii but it is also forecast to kick a good dose of energy our direction, with the new WNW-NW swell arriving around Feb 13-14. This one still has some development before the swell is in the water but the feature has been petty steady on the forecast models and it looks like we could see another round of well-overhead surf hitting the top breaks as the swell peaks over that weekend.

South Pacific
The SPAC is definitely starting to spin up some new activity…I have mentioned it in the last couple of forecasts...and the systems are finally in development, setting up some lovely fetch for us as I write this. Unfortunately we will still need to wait about a week for the swell to arrive, so don’t get super fired up yet. Between now and then we are going to see a mix of small background S-SW swells, none really over knee high+, that will get lost in the bigger shots of WNW-NW energy coming in.

Further out the extra-tropical mixing that I was looking for has finally managed to start setting up some SW swell for Socal...check out the next few images, and remember that they are “actual” measurements, not just the swell model.

As always a big thank to Mark at for letting me poach some cool satellite data. (Make sure to visit his site when you get a chance or if you want to get the latest Jason-1 data).

30-40+ knot winds and 30-foot seas are good numbers…but not that good…particularly since the storm is a little shadowed by the South Pacific islands and is quite a ways away (around 5000-6000 miles off). The combo of distance and shadowing will shave some size off the swell…so at this point I am expecting chest-shoulder high SW swell at the average spots and some head high+ sets for the top breaks arriving around Feb 13-14. This storm still has another 24-36 hours of development time though…so I might get to add a little more size if it “pops” a little more.

Not much on tap in the forecast after the swell for Feb 13-14…but the general activity level of the SPAC is still pretty I am expecting something new to start showing on the charts fairly soon…possibly setting up some more SSW-SW swell for around Feb 18-19.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, February 8th, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster


Anonymous said...

So what are the odds of macking west swell with some combo action for the beachies on 2/13 and 14?

Adam Wright said...

pretty good on the combo...though there might be a bit too much WNW-NW in the mix...the SW looks decent but it may get buried by the NPAC energy. Then there is the weather...