Series of storms to pass through the region this week

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Austin Gendron
(Monday) 3.20.17

Short Range Surf Forecast Overview

Kind of a flip flop in weather this week, as a series of lows take aim at California.  Unsettled weather will be on and off through the work week, and could continue through the weekend and early next week as well.  As far as surf goes, conditions are expected to deteriorate because of the weather, but we are expecting an increase westerly swell mix, with some southerly wind swell associated with each passing low.   Read more for details.

To view the details of your local region click on your “Central California Surf Region”

San Francisco | San Mateo | Santa Cruz | Monterey | SLO County

Low pressure is expected to move through tonight, bringing showers/rain to Central California later this afternoon through the night.  Showers are forecast to become more scattered on Tuesday. Breezy southerly winds this afternoon and evening could drive some wind swell to mix with easing WNW-NW energy already in the water.  Conditions are expected to deteriorate with the winds though, and have already started showing texture and bump on the surface of southerly exposures.

The surf is expected to pick up a little more Thursday with some new long-period WNW (280-300) blending with medium period swell already in the water. Wave heights Thursday are expected to be running chest to overhead+ at standouts, maybe even a little bigger. I mentioned a little SW energy in the water as well. That has peaked, and will ease through the end of the week, so expect mostly small wrap from the WNW-NW in the knee to chest high range at standout southerly exposures. Wave heights through out the region will start to ease again on Friday, and continue to back off through Saturday.

Late Tuesday into Wednesday we’re expecting the mix of wind swell to ease while medium and long-period W-WNW (275-300) starts to fill in. Winds are going to likely remain onshore through midweek though, so the increasing surf will likely have less favorable conditions as well. As of right now we’re expecting wave heights to boost into the chest to overhead+ range along the exposed coast on Wednesday, with standouts potentially seeing some well overhead sets. The best bet for cleaner surf though will be southerly exposures that can pick up the wrap. Winds are supposed to swing around to the WNW-NW following the area of low pressure. Westerly exposures are likely to be a bit messier. Winds are expected to ease up some Thursday, but it could still be somewhat bumpy for a few areas.

Another storm, and quite possibly a much wetter and more potent one is due on Friday. It will be preceded by strong southerly winds that twill generate another round of S-SW wind swell ahead of a larger pulse of WSW-WNW (250-290) that will pic up Saturday. Wave heights could build into the head high to well overhead range along the exposed coast, again winds are expected to be breezy during this time period. Mostly out of the south ahead of the low, and then shifting more WNW-NW on Saturday, and remaining onshore Sunday. Surf should back off into the chest to overhead+ range by late Sunday.

Here’s what to expect on a day-to-day basis this week:

Monday the 20th Surf is expected to ease a little bit, with most of the exposed coast seeing surf in the waist to head high+ range.

Tuesday the 21st could be a funky day weather wise. Incoming storm could bring breezy southerly winds and additional wind swell. There will also be a little long-period W-WNW. Wave heights are expected to hold in the waist to head high+ range with potential for larger sets at standouts, but with fairly mixed conditions.

Wednesday the 22nd More W-WNW swell mix arrives. Surf could build into the chest to overhead+ range at standouts, but its too early to call at this point.

Thursday the 23rd Weather takes a break, but conditions are likely to still be a bit onshore. Surf should run waist to head high for most areas, with standouts possibly seeing chest to overhead+, potentially a couple feet overhead.

Friday the 24th, breezy southerly winds associated with the next frontal system will kick up wind swell. New westerly swell mix will also start building. Wave heights expected to continue running chest to overhead+

Saturday the 25th mixed up westerly swell builds to a peak, with potential for head high to well overhead+ surf at standouts. Conditions looking pretty suspect with onshore winds.

Sunday the 26th Surf should start to ease through the day, with onshores persisting.

Tropical Overview

No tropical cyclones at this time

Long-Range Surf and Swell Forecast

North Pacific Swell Forecast

All eyes remain on the long-range forecast for a decent late season long-period W-WNW (275-295) arriving early next week.

It’s been fairly consistent on the models now for the past week. A very energetic low developing off the coast of Japan in a couple days is expected to strengthen very quickly. As you can see in the image above, it’s possible that the system could develop 35-40+ foot seas in the West Pacific. It does look like it will start to back off some as it moves closer to the Dateline due to a ripple in the jet stream.

Because of the strength and size of system it looks like its going to generate a some very long-period forerunners around 22 to 23 seconds. Those should start arriving next Monday. It’s hard to say exactly how big it will bit, but combined with more locally generated swell (we’re likely going to see another trough approaching early next week) it will probably mean Central California will see overhead to double overhead+ surf, while Southern California sees chest to overhead+ wave heights during the peak. I’ll have updates on Thursday once the swell is starting it journey across the North Pacific.

South Pacific Swell Forecast

Following the small pulse of SSW due this coming weekend, the South Pacific is looking a little less organized for the current forecast. There’s still a series of weaker systems tracking their way around Antarctica, but they just aren’t looking all that impressive.

The rest of the forecast shows a lot of zonal fetch, which doesn’t usually mean California will be seeing much swell energy. As of right now we’re only really expecting a small blend of knee to waist high energy trickling in inconsistently next week. If anything more exciting happens I’ll obviously include it in next week’s forecast, but its just not in the cards right now.

Next long-range forecast expected for Thursday the 23rd of March. 

Austin Gendron
Surf Forecaster