Thursday, June 24, 2010

Southern California Long-range Surf Forecast – 6/24/2010

Forecast Overview
- New SW swell mixes with tropical energy from TS Blas on Friday…the surf stays small/playful for most areas but select spots will start to see some bigger surf.
- Saturday the new SW swell will continue to build while new tropical energy from Hurricane Celia starts to arrive at the extremely exposed SE spots.
- Sunday the meat of the new SW swell starts to arrive and Celia’s swell fills in, turning more southerly in the process. Wave heights will increase at most S facing spots with some larger waves at the top S-SE breaks.
- Monday and Tuesday the mix of SSW-SW swell and tropical energy from Hurricane Celia will peak…look for playful/decent sized surf for most of the exposed spots and overhead sets at the standout breaks.

Short Range (next 4 days)

Friday – (On the rise)
Another new S-SW swell (190-210) mixes in with the holding SW energy, the slightly dropping tropical S-SE swell (from TS Blas), and increasing local NW windswell. Most exposed breaks will have surf in the waist-chest high range with some chest-shoulder high sets at the spots that do better on the S swells. The standout S facing spots, particularly the SW exposed beaches and good combo spots, will have chest-shoulder high surf with a chance for a couple of plus sets on the morning tide push. Winds/Weather: Still clean on Friday…light and variable winds on tap for the morning with a couple of weak areas of onshore flow. Onshore texture picks up by midday and we can expect another round of W-WNW winds in the 10-15 knot range by the afternoon.

Saturday – (still building)
The pulse of SW swell (190-210) and steady NW windswell will hold on Saturday while the tropical SE (155-175) swell starts to get overlapping energy from Hurricane Celia. Most spots will continue to hold in the waist-chest high range…with some bigger sets showing at the more exposed SE-SW facing spots. The standout S facing breaks, particularly those that can combo up the mix of swells, will have more consistent chest-shoulder high surf through the morning…and then some head high sets that begin to arrive more frequently throughout the day. Winds/Weather: Winds look light in the morning…maybe a couple of pockets of onshore texture but pretty manageable for most areas. Look for W-WSW winds to increase throughout midday and eventually push onshore in the 12-15+ knot range for the afternoon.

Sunday – (more swell from all over the place)
Sunday’s surf will be on the rise from the get-go…we will have new bigger SW energy (190-215) filling in on the back of the previous Southern Hemi pulse. There will also be more tropical swell from Hurricane Celia…this will still be pretty SE’erly (155-165) but it will be on the rise throughout the day and slowly shifting more southerly. NW windswell will continue to hold on in the background…hopefully with enough energy to break up the other swells. At this point it looks like chest-shoulder high surf for most of the average exposed spots…with sets being a little more consistent at the SW/NW combo spots and the good SE facing breaks. Winds/Weather: Look for light and variable winds in the morning…probably cleaner than the previous couple of days…so a chance for some light offshore in a few spots. Winds come onshore around midday and build out of the WNW at 10-15+ knots for the afternoon.

Monday – (still building)
The SSW-SW swell (190-205) holds on through Monday along with the NW windswell. The S-SE tropical swell (160-175) from Hurricane Celia will continue to build through Monday...eventually peaking later in the afternoon. Look for most spots to average around chest-shoulder high off the mix of swells. Standout S facing spots, and the excellent combo breaks, will see shoulder-head high surf with a few of the really well-exposed SE breaks seeing overhead sets at times throughout the day. Winds/Weather: Look for light and variable winds in the morning with some light offshore flow in a few spots. Winds come onshore around midday and build out of the WNW at 10-15+ knots for the afternoon.


North Pacific
The NPAC is still pretty weaksauce right now…high-pressure continues to block out most of the NE Pacific, which kills any kind of long-period swell production.

There is one low-pressure that moves through the Gulf of Alaska…which doesn’t make any waves for us…but it does erode some of the high-pressure closer to our coast. It does this right as Hurricane Celia moves closer to the mid-latitudes, basically allowing Celia to track a bit more NW, which could be good for swell production (sort of a long-shot).

South Pacific
There will be plenty of Southern Hemi swell on tap for the next several days…and I am seeing another decent-sized pulse starting to brew up in the long-range…so basically the South Pacific continues to run like a well-oiled machine.

Right now we are seeing a little pulse of SW energy…from some scattered storm elements all spinning around New Zealand…these type of swells are notoriously inconsistent because of their swell-decay along the long travel distance, shadowing from the South Pacific Islands, and some blockage by the nearshore islands once they start to arrive in Socal. So this weak little shot of energy is everything that we can expect it to be. We can expect this SW’er to hold into Friday with some waist high waves and occasional chest high sets at the standouts.

The bigger SW swell (200-220) will start to arrive on Saturday (June 26) starting off very SW’erly and a bit inconsistent, which reflects the way the storm moved off New Zealand and began to intensify. This swell will build through Saturday evening, eventually peaking on Sunday and Monday (June 27-28). As this swell peaks we can expect the average SW facing spots to see chest-shoulder high surf with some less consistent head high sets. The standout SW facing breaks, mostly through South OC and parts of San Diego, will have shoulder-head high surf with some inconsistent overhead sets. Look for this swell to start to back off on the 29th…but expect rideable waves from this one hanging on through the end of June.

Further out there is another strong storm forecast to move through our swell window. It has been on the charts for the last few days and the forecasts have slowly improved as we have gotten closer to the storm actually pulling together. The latest forecasts are showing a pretty solid stretch of fetch (see how I did that…str-etch and f-etch…I am master of the English language) forming right in our S swell window…and not just your typical high-latitude storm, it will be an extra-tropical fueled nugget that manages to set up nearly 1200-1500 miles of 30+ knot wind with gusts hitting around 45-50 knots.

All of this wind is forecast to build up 30-35’ seas and push out a good S swell for Southern California (and a larger on for Central America/Mainland Mexico). This new S swell (180-200) would arrive as early as Saturday (July 3) and peak on the 4th of July…with energy sticking around for a few days afterwards. At this point it looks like this swell will be good for chest-shoulder high+ surf for the average S facing spots in California and some overhead sets at the standout breaks.

Things back down in the South Pacific after that storm…but I am still seeing some increasing storm activity under Australia and New Zealand that will likely push out into the South Pacific proper in the next week or so.


We have two hurricanes in the East Pacific Tropics, one of which is in the Southern California swell window, and the other is just starting to reach the Baja Sur “SE swell” window.

For Socal Hurricane Celia is the most important at this point. She is a strong (115-knots), well-positioned storm (S-SSE of Socal…right in the 165-175 degree swell window), who is tracking well (WNW at 9-11 knots)…all of which are good things for generating swell. The initial energy from Celia will be arriving over this upcoming weekend...pushing in from the SE (155-165) starting on Saturday. It will be a bit slow and selective at first…but it will continue building and turning more southerly on Sunday, eventually peaking on Monday with plenty of energy showing into Tuesday. Once the swell turns more S (170-180) we can expect the average spots to see shoulder-high+ surf while the S-SE standouts, mostly through Orange County, see some overhead+ sets. This could come in stronger so we are going to want to keep an eye on the buoys and satellite obs as we move into the weekend.

The other system is Hurricane Darby, who has formed just off the coast of Southern Mainland Mexico…and is forecast to putt around in a little circle without making much movement toward the Socal swell window…in fact if it sticks with the current forecast Darby might not even reach the Cabo/Baja Sur swell window all that cleanly. As it is…the immediate nearby region of Southern Mainland Mex, can expect some consistent tropical S swell to mix with the Southern Hemi SW swell that will be hitting over the weekend.

the Next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, June 28th, 2010.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster


Pezman said...

As stoked as I am for Celia, she needs to SLOW down to around 8mph so we can get better fetch from her NW quad. C'mon Celia slow your track but keep your intensity!

As for the new Pitcam swell on the models, my first thought is, why does it have to hit on the Fourth of July>? Nooooooo! There will be so many barneys & tourists all over Newps that weekend. I can already feel the headaches the lifeguards will be facing if this system holds up...

Adam Wright said...

Pezman – Celia isn’t moving that fast, especially considering how big she is…10-knots (12 mph) to the WNW still leaves her with plenty of time to keep her fetch over the same stretch of ocean.

Check out her size…

64 KT.....30NE 30SE 25SW 30NW.
50 KT.....50NE 50SE 40SW 40NW.
34 KT.....100NE 100SE 75SW 90NW.
12 FT SEAS..210NE 180SE 120SW 210NW.

For Socal...the NE and SE quadrants are the most important since the storm is moving mostly perpendicular to us. She has nearly 180-200 miles of tropical storm strength winds (or greater) in those areas...and estimated 12-foot+ seas for nearly 380-400 miles.

What is even better about this storm, and something that I don’t talk about that often because it a bit much to go the “draw” that she has set up down in the ITCZ. Instead of just the winds she has in her direct area, she is also influencing the winds in the area due south of the NE/SE quadrants...check out this link (you might have to click through a certificate warning, but it is a government website)

Look at the 00z chart, the first one in the animation, it shows the surface winds, direction and estimated speed. This model is still a little rough in resolution to see the storm itself, but you can see all the 20-25 knots of S winds that feed into the SE quadrant. If you measure up that wind outside the storm’s tropical storm wind-field you can actually tack on another 600 miles to the length of the fetch and maybe 100 extra miles to the width.

That in a nutshell is why I am not as concerned about her speed, even though she is moving a little fast for a normal tropical system.

As far as the next little southern hemi nugget hitting during the holiday weekend…yeah it sucks, but there will be other swells. Besides the beach would be crowded anyways whether there is swell or not…this way there will be something to bodysurf while all the nonsense/blackball/normal-newport-chaos is occurring. A beach cruiser and a pair of swim-fins will probably be the best equipment choice that weekend.

Anonymous said...

all at once now...adam, you rock!

Anonymous said...

Trestles, here I come!!

Anonymous said...

Overhead newport for 4th of july...and the water should stay trunkable till then? O my gawd mass chaos this could be really fun depending on your mindset

Anonymous said...

Ahhggg...I hate summer time here in SoCal. Sure the waves and temperature are good, but all the beachgoers drive me nuts. Winter time cannot come quickly enough.

Anonymous said...

I like winter but once summers i cant help but hope winter gets pushed back just a few more months