Monday, March 29, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 3/29/2010

Forecast Overview

More WNW-NW swell arrives on Tuesday and eventually peaks Wednesday/Thursday before slowly dropping off toward the weekend. Funky weather (onshore wind/rain) arrive around the same time and will probably keep things pretty sloppy as most of the swell pushes through. A long-period S swell arrives on Thursday and peaks Friday and Saturday…conditions will be cleaning up around then...cross your fingers that there is still enough WNW-NW energy that can help add some combo to the swell mix.

Short Range (next 4 days)

Tuesday – (chance for morning surf…bumpy by the afternoon)
The WNW-NW swell (280-300) will continue to fill in on Tuesday as more local windswell and some WNW-NW swell from the storm gathering off the California coast, pile some new energy into the mix. There will also be a smaller SW pulse (200-220) that will back down slowly through the day. Most spots with WNW exposure will be in the chest high range with some shoulder high+ sets. The standout NW breaks in the usual spots (Ventura, the South Bay, and South SD) will have more consistent head high surf with some sets going overhead on the lower tides. Winds/Weather: A new cold front is set to push into the region on Tuesday…arriving in SB/Ventura through the morning and then trying to push south throughout the day. Overall it looks like onshore wind for Socal…but areas ahead of the front may not be that bad, even seeing some SE winds before it hits. The winds are expected to shift more W around 10-15 knots for the afternoon with stronger gusts the closer you get to Point Conception.

Wednesday – (Not a surf day)
Looks pretty craptacular weatherwise…but the stormy WNW-NW swell will be peaking through the afternoon. I don’t expect in the way of clean surf on Wednesday but there are always a few obscure pockets here and there…it is sort-of worth watching the swell. The WNW-NW energy (280-300) will be peaking with shoulder-head high+ surf at most exposed spots and sets going a few feet overhead (and bigger) at the standout NW facing breaks. Winds/Weather: Winds look almost universally sucky on Wednesday…look for W winds 10-15+ knots for most areas with the most exposed spots seeing 20-25 knot gusts. Rain/drizzle is pretty likely throughout the day.

Thursday – (Not a surf day)
The peak of the WNW-NW swell (280-300) will continue to hold into Thursday morning…along with the sloppy conditions. A new S swell (180-200) moves in throughout the day and will start to peak a few hours after sunset. Most spots will see shoulder-head high+ surf with overhead+ sets mixing in on the lower tides. The standout NW facing spots will be overhead to several feet overhead….with the biggest surf showing in the morning. The S facing breaks will see surf in the chest-shoulder high range as the new S swell moves in…as well as a few bigger sets at the Orange County/San Diego standout summer breaks. Winds/Weather: Another cold-front is forecast to move through early on Thursday morning…turning the winds a bit southerly (more SW than S unfortunately). Potentially it may bring some heavier rain as well. Look for the winds to shift more W around 10-20 knots through the afternoon.

Friday – (Some clean up possible…chance for some surf)
The storm is expected to move out of the area on Friday…conditions may not totally clean up…but it will be better than what we see earlier in the week. Look for the WNW-NW swell (280-300) to fade out slowly through the day while the S swell (180-200) continues to peak. The average spots will be in the chest-shoulder high range with some inconsistent head high sets. The standout NW facing spot and the good combo breaks will have fairly consistent shoulder-overhead surf with some sets still going a couple of feet+ overhead at times. Winds/Weather: Conditions still look pretty unstable but if the storm moves out a bit earlier on Thursday (or comes in weaker to begin with) then we will see some cleanup on Friday. Look for mostly N-NNW winds around 10-15 knots up around Santa Barbara down through LA…and then N winds around 10 knots for OC and SD. Looks like all spots see some W winds around 15 knots for the afternoon.

North Pacific
We have a strong storm in the Gulf of Alaska centered just off the Pacific NW Coast this bad-boy is going to be sending us some new WNW-NW swell (280-300+) over the next few days…peaking mostly Wednesday afternoon and overnight into Thursday morning.

Unfortunately this same storm is going to drape a couple of cold fronts down over SoCal starting Tuesday evening and holding on through Thursday. These fronts will build up local WNW-NW windswell to mix in with the medium/long-period WNW-NW energy…but of course the winds that set up the windswell will be blowing right over top of us and between them and the rain it is going to keep conditions pretty sloppy through midweek.

Further out the NPAC still isn’t quite shutting down…but it also isn’t doing anything particularly spectacular. At this point it looks like a new storm may form up around the Aleutians later this week, which would set up new NW swell (290-300+) that would arrive around April 4-6. It also looks like another storm could develop next to California around the same time…so we could see another mix of local windswell, longer-period NW swell, and funky weather all arriving early next week.

South Pacific
The SPAC has been getting more active lately and the storms seem to be a little more frequent than what we even had a few weeks ago. Right now we will be seeing some new long-period S-swell (170-200) from a storm that moved off Antarctica late last week. The storm had some decent wind speeds…plenty of 35-45 knot winds around the key areas of fetch…and the storm made a very good South-to-North movement as it was intensifying which helped to push more swell our direction. It won’t be huge…but I do expect it to be pretty playful as it peaks and I expect it to stick around for a few days. This swell will start to arrive with some long-period energy on Thursday (April 1)…and then peaking on Friday/Saturday (April 2-3). Average spots will see chest-shoulder high surf from this one while the standout S facing breaks hold more in the head high to slightly overhead range on the sets.

Further out There is some new storm action developing down by New Zealand that is forecast to intensify as some sub-tropical moisture pushes south into the storm track just as the system starts to clear the SPAC Island Shadow.

If this comes through as the charts are showing we would be looking at another round of shoulder-head high SW swell (200-220) that would arrive around April 8th and hold through the 10th. This one still has a few days of development before it sends swell but we should start seeing some actual numbers later this week.

Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, April 1st , 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Man i always get so unmotivated to surf whenever i read your forecast's when a big swell is coming ha.
Atleast your forecast's help keep lots of people out of the water so when all of so calis nooks and crannys go off the locals boys can get theres without all us poor saps from hb traveling elsewhere thinkin todays a surf day.
Props adam thanks for the always entertaining (and usually helpful) info.