Thursday, May 6, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 5/06/2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 5/06/2010

Forecast Overview

The S swell will hold solid into Friday and then back down over the weekend. NW windswell and another SSW-SW swell push in over Saturday and Sunday, but onshore winds look like they start to arrive Saturday afternoon and junk things up all the way into early next week (hopefully this will change). A larger S-SSW is looming in the long-range…get your “weather nerd” on in that section today.

Short Range (next 4 days)

Friday – (definitely doable)
Still plenty of S-SSW swell (180-200) in the water…but it will be starting to wind down a touch as the size and the period back off. The local NW windswell will be holding steady at knee-waist high so we have that going for us. Most S facing breaks will continue to be in the chest-shoulder high range. Standout S facing spots, in (wait for it) Orange County, will be chest-head high on most sets with some less and less frequent overhead sets mixing in. The focal spots will still have a few bigger waves mixing in at times. Winds/Weather: Look for light winds in the morning…there may be a little onshore texture here and there…but overall winds will be below 5 knots. Look for onshore WNW-NW winds to build in later in the day…eventually pushing up into the 10-15 knot range.

Saturday – (fading but fun…)
The S swell (180-200) will be backing down on Saturday…but there will still be plenty of leftovers still on tap as it fades out (this storm had some legs to it). NW windswell will be on the rise (and it looks like the eddy winds will be coming along with it) so we can expect some of the well exposed spots to get a little more broken up by the combo. Most spots will be in the waist-chest high range with some less consistent bigger sets. The standout S facing breaks and excellent S combo spots will be in the chest-head high range…still a few pluses hiding at the best breaks. Winds/Weather: Winds look light in the morning…with a few pockets of onshore texture still lurking out there. W winds pick up through the afternoon…even turning a bit SW…but holding in the 10-15 knot range for most areas and some stronger gusts the further north you go.

Sunday – (looking ugly)
A new mix of SSW-SW swell (190-210) and increasing local windswell will push wave heights back up on Sunday but it doesn’t look like the weather is going to cooperate. Average spots will be in the chest-shoulder high range while the top NW facing breaks and the combo spots see consistent shoulder-overhead surf and some inconsistent bigger sets. Winds/Weather: The overall weather pattern gets knocked off the rails on Sunday…onshore flow starts early out of the W as a cold front pushes through the central coast and trails winds down through our region. Look for W flow around 10-15 knots for the morning with some 20-knot gusts by the afternoon.

Monday – (ugly’s twin sister…uglier)
The SSW-SW swell (190-210) will start to drop off a bit by Monday and the windswell increases. Look for most of the average breaks to be in the chest-shoulder high range while the standout NW facing spots, mostly in San Diego, see overhead+ sets from the windswell…the purely S facing spots will be more in the waist-shoulder high range on inconsistent sets. Winds/Weather: The onshore winds are forecast to increase through Monday as the cold front moves closer to our region and pushes off to the east to make someone else miserable. NW winds are forecast to be onshore 10-20 knots for the morning with some stronger 25+ knot gusts hitting at times…oh and a chance of drizzly…thank you very much stupid weather.


North Pacific
Still pretty quiet in the North Pacific…there are a couple of storms off to the NW of Hawaii that will strengthen over the next couple of days but they are either outside of Socal’s swell window, or moving the wrong way. Really the most surf that we will see out of this region is the local windswell from winds running down the California Coast.

Thanks to that fun cold-front moving through later in the weekend we can expect NW windswell to spike up over the weekend and into early next week but the winds are coming along with it…so most spots will end up pretty trashed.

South Pacific
This new S swell (that peaked on Thursday) will be holding into Friday and then fading slowly through the weekend…eventually moving into the background on Sunday. Fortunately a new SSW-SW swell (190-210) moves in on Sunday to replace the bigger S swell. This will peak overnight into Monday, but will suffer under craptacular wind conditions so it probably won’t be all that surfable.

Further out we see the Sunday/Monday swell fade out Tuesday and Wednesday…but it looks like things are going to start coming back up, fast, later in the week as a pretty large looking swell begins to move into Socal.

Check it out…this storm is just pulling together this afternoon and will really put the swell “in the water” overnight.

This is basically the South Pacific version of those “complex” low-pressures that we saw all winter in the NPAC…only we don’t see them as often since we don’t have a lovely basin like the Gulf of Alaska to funnel them into. This one is actually being fed by a helpful tropical system that is going extra-tropical over by Tahiti (we should send a card)…check out the sea-level pressure charts.

The colder storm is siphoning off a bunch of the warmer storms energy to help power up the winds along the surface. Besides making the colder storm more intense it also forces it to push “upwards” in positioning…aiming the strongest part of the fetch more our direction.

It also helps that since this is a complex system that has some more fronts moving around the core, each of which pours another dose of stronger winds onto an already formed sea-state…basically piling up swell on top of energy already heading our way.

Ok enough weather nerd stuff…lets get to the surf. This storm, if it continues to form the way the forecasts are showing (and the 24-48 hour forecasts are generally pretty accurate) then a large S-SW swell is going to be pushed towards…well everywhere along the east side of the Pacific…pretty much from South America up to the Pacific NW. This isn’t really a Tahiti swell or Hawaii swell, because the action is so much further east, but Mainland Mex and Central America look like they will be pretty hefty…if you like large surf…it looks like it will be worth pulling the trigger.

For Socal…we can expect some really initial energy to start to pulse up out of the SW (210-225) on the 12th, but this isn’t really part of the bigger swell, just some cast-off from the various storms as they moved into position. It will be good for some waist-chest high surf on Wednesday/early Thursday at the top spots. The main push of S swell (180-210) moves in with some looooong period (20-22 second) energy throughout the 13th…with the peak of the swell hitting on the 14th and holding into the 15th.

At this point it looks like most S facing spots will be shoulder-head high with some overhead sets. The standout S facing spots will be shoulder-overhead+ with sets going a couple of feet+ overhead at times. The top spots, the real S-swell standouts, will be bigger…with inconsistent sets going a few feet+ overhead at times.

Even further out the long-range forecasts say the SPAC isn’t done with us either…another system may spin up around the same position in about 5-6 days, which could have more S-SW swell heading our way for around the 20-21st.

the Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, May 10th, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster


Anonymous said...

Who needs you NPAC!
Seriously all you do is send us junky coldness.
Yes i am talking smack on the pacific ocean.

SC Fool said...

Oh, Adam! I love it when you go all weather nerd on us! It makes me so hot!