Thursday, February 25, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 2/25/2010

Forecast Overview

WNW-NW swell holds fun surf into Friday and then backs down into early Saturday. A new storm (with onshore winds, rain, and if we are lucky some more lightening and mudslides) pushes in on Saturday and brings a hefty, well-overhead, W-NW swell along with it. This new swell will build Saturday afternoon and then peak on Sunday before backing down slowly on Monday. Conditions should clean up late in the weekend as the storm moves out. Another, cleaner looking, W-WNW swell is scheduled to move in through the middle of next week…good times.

Short Range (next 4 days)

The WNW-NW swell (280-300) and background SW swell (200-220) will hold but weather will start to get a bit funky. Wave heights will continue in the chest-head high range at the average WNW/combo spots. Standout breaks hold around shoulder-head high+ with overhead sets. Winds/Weather: Another front is expected to push through the area on Friday soooo winds are a bit tied to how that front behaves…current forecasts are calling for light winds through the morning but steadily building WNW-NW flow arriving by midmorning and continuing to strengthen through the day…chance of rain moving in as well.

Stormy conditions push in along with another round of W-NW swell (275-300). The new energy will be arriving throughout the day…so we are going to start off with mostly leftovers and building local W-SW windswell…then the new swell will fill in more in the afternoon and continue to build overnight into Sunday. Look for the average spots to see poor shaped surf in the chest-shoulder high range with some head high sets on the lower tides. Standout breaks will be more in chest-head high range with overhead+ sets still mixing in at times. Winds/Weather: W-SW winds around 10-20 knots with some stronger gusts will be on tap through the morning along with rain and the potential for Thunderstorms. If winds stay more westerly don’t expect many of the usual “storm” spots to work…if winds shift more southerly there will be a few pockets that will stay manageable.

The new W-NW swell (275-300) will peak and clean up a bit as the storm moves on out of the area. Look for most W-WNW facing spots to be in the shoulder-overhead range with some bigger sets going a few feet overhead at times. The standout NW facing spots, mostly in the Ventura, San Diego, and South Bay regions, will be in the consistent overhead+ range with sets going a few feet overhead (and maybe a bit bigger) on the lower tides. San Diego, southern SD, in particular looks like it will be very exposed to this swell mix…I will not be surprised to see some heavy double-overhead surf at the standouts breaks in the area. Winds/Weather: Not totally clean but nicer than Saturday. Sort of variable onshore texture out of the S-SW but under 5-8 knots for the morning. Look for moderate onshore flow below 10-12 knots for the afternoon.

The W-NW swell mix (275-300) will drop pretty fast on Monday but there will still be plenty of size for the exposed breaks. Average spots will drop down into the shoulder-head high range with some inconsistent overhead sets still sneaking through. The standouts, again in the Ventura, South Bay, and San Diego areas, will have surf running head high/overhead+ with sets going a couple of feet overhead…and maybe a couple of pluses through the early morning. Winds/Weather: Winds look lighter on Monday…more light and variable in the morning…not super glassy but not all that bad either. W winds 10-15 knots will build in through the afternoon.


North Pacific
So lots of waves on tap for the weekend and some nasty weather too…hopefully it will push out of the area pretty fast so conditions can clean up before the swell drops too much.


and weather...

Longer-range is still looking nice and active…remind me to send a thank-you card to El Nino…and there is another decent sized storm forecast to brew up in our swell window over the next 3-4 days. As it does it looks like we will have another overhead+ W-WNW swell lining up for the middle of the upcoming week. This new W-WNW swell (275-290) will begin to arrive on Tuesday (Mar 2) and then peak Wednesday/Thursday (Mar 3-4).

This one won’t be as raw as the weekend swell, in fact it looks like a lot more energy holding up around the 15-17 second period range which means that the swell will have a real shot at grooming out some of the fugliness. At this point it looks like this swell will be good for shoulder-overhead surf at the average WNW facing spots and sets going a few feet overhead at the standout NW facing breaks.

South Pacific
The South Pacific is starting to get a little more active…nothing like the North Pacific…but enough to send some slightly better looking SW pulses our direction. We have some small energy that will hold for the next few days and a waist-chest high+ SW pulse that arrives on Thursday the 25th and peaks into Friday before slowly fading out over the weekend.

Further out there is some good interaction between the tropical-subtropical activity (forming up around Fiji and Northern New Zealand) and the colder, high-latitude storm track just of Antarctica. The tropical energy is bleeding off to the south which is letting the SPAC cauldron get all bubbly…which is my very scientific description of storms making the south-north movements that help establish better areas of fetch for our region. If the current forecast can hold together we should see a decent area of fetch developing in about 1-2 days…which would send us a new round of chest-shoulder high+ SSW-SW swell (190-215) for around March 4-6th. Even further out it looks like more moderate fetch forming out the back that will have some more playful S-SW swell heading our way for the first couple of weeks of March…nothing major but I am hoping that it will have enough kick to break up the steady WNW swell that we will probably be still seeing.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, March 1st, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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