Stormy weather returns later this weekend

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Austin Gendron
(Thursday) 3.16.17

Short Range Surf Forecast Overview

We should see a slight boost in WNW Thursday as some extra medium-long period energy arrives. Then surf should back off a little bit Friday and Saturday. Models are starting to converge on a wetter period starting late Sunday. The approaching storm is going to also bring with it another increase in surf with mixed storm dependent swell that should remain in effect through mid-next week as a second system moves through the region Read more for details.

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

Conditions are looking a little more onshore through the end of the week, with an approaching trough. That’s going to mean a little more fog in the mornings, but also some extra texture on the surface. It’s not looking super strong, so it’s still likely to be surfable.

The surf is expected to pick up a little more Thursday with some extra 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.

This weekend is going to kick off a transition period. A trough approaching from the west is expected to threaten wet weather again by late Sunday. Included in that scenario is an increasing in onshore conditions too. The approaching low is also going to drum up a little extra windswell/swell mix out of the WSW-NW (250-305) for Sunday. Wave heights are expected to be running chest to overhead+ along the exposed west facing coast, but with the mix of energy and onshore winds, its likely to be a bit funky for most areas. Rain could start for the northern parts of the region late Sunday.

A second somewhat stronger and more potent system is due on Tuesday. This one has more potential to drop significantly more rain on the region, as well as increase southerly winds ahead of the front. Those winds are expected to generate some southerly windswell to mix with the medium and long-period W-WNW (275-300).

The long-period W-WNW (275-290) is from a system that is currently developing out in the West Pacific near Japan. The storm has a fairly broad fetch, and could generate 30-35 foot seas over the next 12-18 hours, but it doesn’t progress eastward from the looks of it, so it will likely be on the smaller side. It’s still a bit too early to call size, but it probably won’t matter considering the conditions with the passing storm. More updates on that in the next report.

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

Thursday the 16th conditions remain fair, with a little extra NW swell in the water. Surf should run waist to head high for most areas, with standouts possibly seeing chest to overhead+, potentially a couple feet ovehread.

Friday the 17th, WNW-NW mix starts to ease, with waist to head high+ surf along the exposed coast. Conditions could shift more onshore late in the day

Saturday the 18th wave heights continue to ease a little more. Standouts are likely to be running waist to head high, with more typical spots in the knee to chest high range. Watching for more onshore texture.

Sunday the 19th Swell mix associated with an incoming low is expected to increase. Wave heights could pick back up into the chest to overhead+ range, with an element of S-SW energy in the water as well as WNW. Conditions expected to be light to moderate and onshore

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.

Tropical Overview

No tropical cyclones at this time

Long-Range Surf and Swell Forecast

North Pacific Swell Forecast

It looks like those small reinforcements due on the 23rd/24th are probably going to get a little pick me up thanks to a strengthening system north of Hawaii early-mid next week.

It’s still waaaayyy too early to call, but the extreme long-range GFS models are showing that same system showing up in California late next week, and bringing with it a hefty amount of moisture. That could mean a heavy rain event for Central and possibly even Southern California next Friday Saturday, as well as another round of long-period WNW-NW (280-300) swell energy. I’ll have more details for you early next week.

South Pacific Swell Forecast

The next South Pacific swell is on its way from a system currently generating 30+ foot seas S-SSW (175-195) of the Pitcairn and Easter Islands.

I mentioned earlier this week that Southern California has a better chance of seeing surf from this system, and that remains true. The swell is due to arrive mid-next week (likely on Wednesday) with 16 to 18 second periods. It looks like it could be a somewhat consistent pulse, with wave heights in the knee to chest high range, potentially a little bigger at summer focal spots during the peak.

Same story from earlier this week, just with more confidence. The models are showing a more active storm pattern in the South Pacific over the next several days. It looks like at least some of the fetch will have enough ENE-NE trajectory to send a little energy north too. As of right now we’re looking potential for another pulse of SSW-SW (190-215) to arrive around the 25th/26th. More details next week. Stay tuned.

Next long-range forecast expected for Monday the 20th of March. 

Austin Gendron
Surf Forecaster