Monday, March 8, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 3/08/2010

Forecast Overview

NW windswell and sloppy conditions will stick around for the next couple of days. The windswell fades out but conditions improve (a lot) on Thursday and we will still manage to pull in a small/playful swell mix. Look for clean conditions and smaller surf on Friday…but then we start to see a new round of WNW-NW swell and more Southern Hemi swell arrive over the weekend.

Short Range (next 4 days)

Steady, steep NW windswell (290-300), some smaller WNW-NW swell (285-300), and some background SW swell will hold on Tuesday. Unfortunately the conditions look pretty sloppy and onshore winds will keep it from being a surf day. Look for waist-chest high surf at the average exposed breaks while the standout NW facing spots, mostly through Southern San Diego, see some shoulder-head high+ sets. Winds/Weather: Another cold front moves through Monday night and helps set up some NW winds for Tuesday. Look for WNW-NW winds around 10-12 knots for the morning and then gusts hitting 15-25 knots by the afternoon. Increasing cloudiness but not really any rain expected.

The mix of steeply angled NW windswell, WNW-NW energy, and SW swell will hold on Wednesday but conditions don’t look much better than Tuesday. Look for more waist-chest high surf at the average NW facing spots with some shoulder-head high+ sets at the top NW facing spots. Winds/Weather: Another fast moving cold front is forecast to move through Tuesday night that will set up more NW clearing winds to develop behind the front on Wednesday. At this point it looks like more WNW-NW winds around 10-14 knots on tap for Wednesday morning (lightest right around dawn) and then 15-20 knot WNW-NW gusts pushing through during the afternoon.

Thursday looks like a surf day…it won’t be outstanding but conditions will be considerably cleaner than the early week and we should have enough swell holding on that we can get out and ride some waves before it fades out too much. Swellwise we are going to see a mix of fading NW windswell, some weaker WNW-NW swell (285-300) and some peaking background SW swell (200-220). The swell combo will be good enough for waist-chest high surf at the average exposed spots with some shoulder-head high sets at the standout NW facing breaks and excellent combo spots. Winds/Weather: High-pressure tries to ridge across Socal on Thursday…seeing up light/variable to light/moderate offshore winds for the morning and then just variable winds below 10-knots for the afternoon. Beach temps should be pretty nice as well.

The NW/SW swell mix will back off slightly on Friday…but conditions should hold together to keep us in small but playful surf at the exposed breaks. Look for knee-waist high waves for most of the average breaks with some chest high sets still sneaking into the best combo breaks. The standout NW facing spots will be more in the waist-chest high range with a few chest-shoulder high sets if the beach has some SW exposure to mix things up. Winds/Weather: Winds will be light and variable in the morning with some areas of light offshore flow. Look for variable onshore winds in the afternoon…mostly below the 10-12 knot range.


North Pacific
So it may have been a little early to count the NPAC completely out of the game....there are a couple of new, better looking, systems forecast to form over the next week that have potential to start sending in more WNW-NW swell for the upcoming weekend and the middle of next week.

The next couple of days we will have to endure some springy conditions…the NE Pacific high-pressure has rebuilt and is strengthening off to the NE of Hawaii, just far enough from the West Coast to leave a gap of steady NW winds that are going to crank down the coast of California. These winds will generate a bunch of steep windswell…so steep that most of it will get blocked by Point Conception…but the winds will be moving in right along with it. Basically we can expect hacked up and sloppy conditions through Wednesday before things start to improve.

By Thursday the high-pressure will shift a bit closer to California and will start to improve our local conditions…check out the pressure chart for Thursday…

Winds will shift offshore for the morning and stay on the light side as beach temps warm up. Unfortunately the shift of the winds will start to kill off the windswell pretty quick but if we are on it in the morning we might be able to pick off some fun ones before it drops off too far.

Further out there are going to be a couple of storms moving into the Gulf of Alaska over the next several days…one moving in later this week and the next one jumping in over the weekend. The current forecast run has these storms tracking mostly across the high-latitudes but with some wind/energy trailing through enough of our WNW-NW swell window to send us some more surf. Look for another round of chest-head high WNW-NW swell (285-300) hitting on Sunday/Monday (March 14-15). This will be followed by another shot of slightly bigger WNW-NW swell (280-300) for Wednesday/Thursday (March 17-18).

Waaaaaay out there is still some more activity swirling around on the end of the forecast run…hopefully this will pan out into some new swell for around the 20-21st…don’t bet the farm on this one it still has a lot of time before it actually develops.

South Pacific
The SPAC continues to heat up…but it still isn’t showing anything all that impressive. Right now we can expect a mix of SSW-SW swells (190-220) that will filter through over the next few days with some inconsistent surf in the knee-waist high range for most SW exposed spots and some chest high sets at the standouts. By Thursday the shot of SW energy will pulse up a little more pushing average spots more into the waist-chest high range with some shoulder high waves at the standouts. These sizes with stick around into the weekend but then trail off a bit by early next week.

Further out there is a better storm pulling together right now in SPAC that will be sending swell for next week…this one looks a little better than the last few storms…with a more defined fetch that makes the south-to-north movement that we need to get a bit more energy from the storm. This new round of S-SSW swell (180-210) begins moving in on Tuesday (march 16) but looks like it will peak more Wednesday/Thursday (March 17-18). This one won’t be huge but I do expect some waist-chest high+ sets at the average spots and some shoulder high+ sets at the standout S facing breaks.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, March 11th, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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