Thursday, February 18, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 2/18/2010

Forecast Overview

Friday will start off on the small side, but building WSW-NW storm/windswell will start to arrive through the afternoon along with more wind and rain. Look for stormy overhead (and bigger) surf to hold through Saturday peak overnight into Sunday. Sloppy conditions on Saturday and then we see some marginal clean-up on Sunday as the region gets a short break before yet another storm arrives. Look for periods of storminess to continue through most of next week.

Short Range (next 4 days)

Friday will start small with just some weak leftovers on tap for the morning. Look for the average spots to see surf in the knee high range with some rare waist high sets. The standout combo spots will be more in the knee-waist high range with some inconsistent chest high sets. New WSW-WNW storm/windswell will start to arrive through the afternoon but it looks like conditions will be pretty ugly so it may have a hard time breaking through the local chop. Winds/Weather: S-winds and increasing chances of rain moving through the area in the morning. S winds will likely be in the 10-12 knot range for most areas with some pockets nearing 13-15+ knots. S-SW winds around 15-20 knots will push through in the afternoon gradually turning more westerly later in the evening.

New stormy WSW-W-WNW swell hits on Saturday but the storm comes along with it. It looks like steady W winds and just nasty chopped up shape at this point…so definitely not a surf day. If it was surfable we would see waves in the shoulder-overhead range for most exposed spots and sets going a few feet overhead (and bigger) at the standout W facing breaks. Winds/Weather: W winds 15-25 knots on tap throughout the day. Rain on tap for the morning…showers and more rain pushing through in the afternoon.

The stormy W-WNW swell will continue to peak on Sunday…and the weather will start to break a bit…unfortunately it is only breaking because a second front is expected to push through the region. Look for more overhead to well overhead surf at the well exposed spots…but shape is going to be pretty jumbled up in most areas. This is one of those days (if you don’t mind the water quality) that you might want to keep a weather eye on local conditions…if the new front jumps the right way we could get some S-SE winds before it arrives, which could clean up a few spots.

The lump of W-NW storm/swell (notice that the swell direction changes as the storm moves through the local waters) will be dropping but there will still be plenty of head-high surf for the average spots and overhead+ waves at the standouts. Again conditions look pretty crap…NW winds at 15 knots are forecast for the morning…and then another cold-front arrives with shifting S winds and more rain by late in the day.


North Pacific
A new stormy WSW-NW swell mix will hit over the weekend as a series of storms roll over Southern California bringing both wind and rain.

This is another one of those weekends where the forecast is pretty dynamic…each cold-front is going to affect how the following one behaves so none of the models are syncing up that well. In some ways this may open some small surf opportunities for us…we will get plenty of new swell, lots of overhead waves at the top spots, and the fronts will cycle the winds around as each one approaches…with Southerly winds before the storm and W-NW winds as it passes. While I wouldn’t spend a lot of time trying to hunt down surf…I would, if you live close, keep an eye on conditions and see if the winds possibly switch to a more favorable direction.

Further Out The stormy trend looks like it will stick around for a lot of next week…the current weather models are showing a whole train of storms just stacking up across the mid-latitudes of the NPAC...most of which will be tracking right into Socal over the next 7-8 days. There may be a few pockets of cleaner conditions in-between systems, but the gaps won’t be that long…so we won’t have much time to dry out before the next round of storminess starts. At this point it looks like consistent head high and overhead surf for the better W facing beaches for most of next week…but conditions will be suspect at best. I am hoping that the first couple of storms help the models shift around and that we see a break sooner than the current run is forecasting.

South Pacific
Not a lot of changes out there right now… we will see another round of knee-chest high SW swell (200-220) arriving on the 17-18th, that fades out as we head into the weekend, and possibly a couple of similar (or smaller) swells showing around the 20-21st.

Further out There is a bigger storm that is set to form below New Zealand over the next several days…sort of an ugly extra-tropical bad-boy being fed by the cyclone just to the south of Fiji that has the potential to send us some more chest-shoulder high SW swell for the 25-27th. Even further out the SPAC does start to pick up a bit more…possibly setting up some more playful SW energy for around the beginning of March.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, February 22th, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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