Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 3/16/2010

Forecast Overview

Two new swells, a WNW-NW swell (285-300) and some new S-SW’er (180-210), will fill in on Wednesday, peak overnight and on into Thursday. These waves will stay playful into Friday and then trail off through the weekend. The nice conditions will continue for most of the week…cooling off a bit on Thurs/Fri but then possibly turning back to almost Santa-Ana style flow over the weekend and into early next week.

Short Range (next 3 days)

New WNW-NW swell (285-300 but with more energy in the 290-300 range) will peak while some new background S-SW swell (180-210) begins to slowly fill in (eventually peaking on Thursday). Most WNW-NW facing spots will be in the chest-shoulder high range while the standout NW facing spots in Ventura, the South Bay, and Southern San Diego, will have some shoulder-head high surf with overhead sets mixing in at times. Winds/Weather: Weather looks good again…more warm sunny weather with light offshore winds for the morning and just variable onshore flow around 10-12 knots for the afternoon.

The WNW-NW swell (285-300) will hold/slowly-fade while the S-SW swell (180-210) peaks. Looks like surf will be pretty similar in the waist-shoulder high range for most WNW exposed spots, and slightly smaller (waist-chest high) at the purely S facing breaks. The best NW spots and the excellent combo breaks can expect some chest-head high surf with some very inconsistent head high+ sets on the lower tides. Winds/Weather: The weather will cool slightly by Thursday but winds still look good in the morning…mostly light and variable to light offshore for most areas. Look for WNW-NW winds around 10-14 knots to build in through the afternoon.

The WNW-NW swell will continue to back off but won’t be fading out too fast. The S-SW swell (180-200) will continue to hold as well…so it looks like another fairly fun surf day at the well exposed breaks. Average spots will be in the waist-chest high range while the standout breaks see some chest-shoulder high sets. Look for the biggest waves at the good combo spots that do a good job with both S and WNW swells. Winds/Weather: Conditions will be clean again on Friday (seriously what is this fall?) look for light/variable to light offshore winds for the morning and N-NW winds around 10-14 knots for the afternoon.


North Pacific
The NPAC is starting to quiet down…there are still a few storms roaming around but nothing that looks particularly interesting, or even all that well positioned to send more surf to Socal. Over the next few days we will have a new WNW-NW swell (285-300 but with most of the energy up around 290-300) setting up waist-shoulder high+ surf for most WNW-NW facing breaks…with some overhead sets hitting the standout NW areas (Ventura, South Bay, and South SD). Look for this swell to peak Wednesday/Thursday and then slowly back off as we head into Friday and the weekend.

Further out the storm track sort of sputters out after this last system…just a few poorly organized areas of low-pressure that will be setting up some minimal fetch inside of our swell window. Basically we cane expect a few weak, waist-chest high and smaller, WNW-NW swells that overlap through the weekend and into the early part of next week. Waaaaaaaay at the end of the charts the GFS weather model is calling for a more organized system to brew up over by Hawaii in about 6-7 days…but I sort of think that it is smoking crack…still we should keep an eye on it for the next couple of days to see if the model starts to adjust its forecast.

South Pacific
The SPAC continues to look more and more active over the last few forecasts…there still isn’t anything spectacular yet…but I am seeing a lot of really good indicators that something may shake loose soon. We have a new round of S-SSW swell (180-210) that began moving in late on Tuesday and will peak more Wednesday-Friday (March 17-19). 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.

Further out there is a pretty strong looking storm that just tore up a bunch of ocean just to the east of New Zealand…it had some good movement, tracking sort of NNE, and it set up some 45-50 knots of wind in the right part of the storm…unfortunately the system wasn’t quite in our swell window and the parts that were set up right in the middle of the South Pacific Island Shadow.

I do expect some waves from this one…we will see a SW swell (210-220) that arrives with some really long-period energy around Monday (Mar 22) and then the peak of the swell Tuesday/Wednesday (Mar 23-24). This one looks good for inconsistent waist-chest high+ surf for most exposed areas and then some chest-shoulder high+ sets at the standout SW facing spots, mostly in Orange County and San Diego. (If you guys are into traveling…this swell is going to hit Hawaii’s south shores pretty good…looks like a solid S swell will 5-8’+ faces filling in fast on the 20th and holding into the 21st before fading out.)

After that storm high-pressure sort of flattens out the storm track…so I am not seeing anything super significant in the long-range portion of the charts. One thing to watch is the two cyclones north of New Zealand…I bet we are going to see some nice extra-tropical activity from those when they finally start to push further south over the next several days, which hopefully will mean some new, bigger S-SW swells heading our way for the end of March.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Friday, March 19th, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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