Thursday, May 20, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 5/20/2010

Lagging on my forecasts today…home projects ended up taking way longer than I thought it would. Anyway here is the long-range can get the info for Friday from the short-range section. I will probably post an update in the morning as the new swell starts to show on the buoys.

Forecast Overview

Look for a slow start on Friday as we see a mix of leftover S-SW swell and building local windswell. New S-SSW swell start to arrive through the afternoon and helps to drive up wave heights by the end of the day. The S-SSW swell will peak on Saturday and hold into Sunday before dropping slowly through the beginning of next week. More Southern Hemi action is brewing out the back…so more waves on the way through the end of May and into early June (now we just need to get the local wind to chill out…stupid wind).

Short Range (next 4 days)

Friday – (building swell mix…with the bigger S-SSW swell starting to arrive)
Friday will start off with mostly leftover SSW swell and building NW windswell. The average spots will have chest high surf with some shoulder high sets. The standout S-SW spots and good combo breaks will be more consistently in the chest-head high range on the bigger sets. The new S-SSW swell (180-210) starts to arrive with some long-period energy through the early morning but not showing much on the beach until the afternoon…with the peak of the swell hitting over the weekend.

Winds/Weather: The winds get a bit sloppy on Friday, another out-of-season cold front will begin to push over the region…setting up some strong winds along the outer waters and spinning up a partial eddy close to the coast…likely letting WNW-NW winds into Santa Barbara and Ventura, lighter W winds into Los Angeles, and W-SW winds into San Diego and Orange County.

Saturday – (S-SSW swell peaks and we get a lot of stupid wind)
The big S-SSW swell that we have been waiting for will finally peak on Saturday while it mixes with a healthy dose of local NW windswell and the winds that generated the windswell. Overall conditions don’t look great, but there will be a few protected pockets that set up through the morning. Average S facing spots will be in the shoulder-overhead range. Standout S facing spots will be in the head high to a couple of feet overhead range. The top focal breaks, mostly in Orange County, will see surf going overhead to a few feet overhead with some bigger sets mixing in at times. NW windswell spots will be around shoulder high with some bigger waves mixing in by the afternoon as the windswell increases. Winds/Weather: Winds and weather look very similar to Friday…so a brief period of light/variable conditions for the morning and then a shift to onshore flow around 9-10am…and then sloppy W-NW winds moving in around 15-18 knots by the afternoon.

Sunday – (S-SSW swell continues to peak and the wind stays pretty lame)
The S-SSW swell will hold on Sunday…though the top spots may lose a little consistency on the bigger sets. Average S facing breaks will continue to run around shoulder high to overhead on the sets. The standout breaks, mostly in Orange County, will still be in the head high to a couple of feet overhead range. The top focal breaks, again mostly in OC, will be hitting consistently overhead with sets going several feet overhead and bigger at times Winds/Weather: The weird winds continue on Sunday…so we can expect a bit of variable conditions early…light and variable in some places and variable onshore in others. These winds will turn onshore around 9-10am and then we see W-NW winds building into the 15-20 knot range as we move through the rest of the day.

Monday – (S-SSW swell slowly fades…conditions improve slightly)
The S-SSW swell (180-210) will be slowly starting to fade on Monday but there will still be plenty of surf for the S facing spots and even a still decent-sized NW windswell that holds in the background. Look for average S facing spots to back down to the chest-head high range with a few overhead sets mixing in. The better S facing breaks will be shoulder-overhead with some bigger waves still showing at times. The standout S-SSW facing breaks and excellent combo spots, mostly in the OC, will have waves running shoulder-high to a couple of feet overhead…with a few bigger waves showing at during the morning. Winds/Weather: Conditions look better on Monday as the small local eddy sort of spins itself out and the upper-level low-pressure moves off to the east. It looks like we will have light/variable winds for most areas for the morning…with cleaner conditions setting up for Ventura on down through North SD…Santa Barbara and Southern SD both may have a bit of onshore texture. Look for W-NW winds around 12-15 knots on tap by the afternoon.


North Pacific
That little funky low-pressure that has been forming up in the Gulf of Alaska is starting to push over California’s outer waters this afternoon and will be moving over land as we move into the weekend. This low won’t set up much longer-period energy (most of that fetch was outside our swell window) but instead will give us some sloppy NW winds and short-period local windswell…

We will see increasing NW windswell and stronger NW winds later this week…likely starting to pulse up later on Thursday and on into Friday/Saturday. The forecast is calling for this swell to build up into the shoulder-head high range for many NW facing spots by Saturday and Sunday…possibly bigger at spots, like Ventura, the South Bay, and South San Diego, that have direct exposure. These waves will back down as we head into next week.

South Pacific
The SPAC continues to fire off swell after swell…which is going to keep us in fairly consistent S-SW energy all the way through the end of May, and a pretty large S-SW swell (180-210) that hits this upcoming weekend (May 21-23rd).

If you are interested in how this next Southern Hemi swell is going to hit the travel spots make sure to check out the SW Swell Alert that I posted earlier.

Expect this S-SW swell (180-210) to start driving in new surf later on Friday and then finally peaking on Saturday, holding into Sunday before fading out slowly through the beginning of next week. As this swell peaks (on Saturday) look for average S-SW facing spots to see surf in the shoulder-overhead range with a few bigger waves mixing it in to spots with better-than-average southerly exposure. The standout SSW facing breaks in Orange County and San Diego will have surf running consistently head high to a couple of feet overhead on sets with a few bigger waves going a few feet overhead at times. These sizes will hold into Sunday and the drop to more playful levels on Monday and Tuesday.

Further Out…we have more SPAC storm action following this big swell so it looks like more S-SW swell heading our way for around the 26-27th...this won’t be as big as the swell in front of it…but it should still be good for some playful head high+ surf at the well exposed breaks. This well will stick around for a couple of days and will likely be followed by yet another pulse of SSW-SW swell that is lining up for the end of May and into early June.

Even further out there is yet another storm forming on the charts that has a lot of good swell-making qualities…it looks like this one will pull together in about 4-5 days…if it lives up to forecasts we would be looking at another overhead S-SW swell (190-215) that would move in around June 3rd.

No tropical storms are expected to form over the next couple of days.

the Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, May 24th, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster


Anonymous said...

sooooo blownout this morning at my local spot.....i sure hope the weekend isnt blownout for dawn patrol too! ahhhhhhhh winds

Anonymous said...

At this point i could careless if theres swell when are these stupid cold fronts or whatever going to stop?

Anonymous said...

for real, i thought i was living in socal???

Anonymous said...

hey adam, do you think the beachies will be better this weekend with the crossed-up windswell? or is the south so strong it will just overtake it? trying to decide between a point or a beach for saturday...

Anonymous said...

The only good eddies are at Maiden concerts.

Anonymous said...

Quit whining! Did you see the reds and purples?! If you know your area you should be able to score... me soooo happy....