‘Rabbit knows a thing or two and I myself, don’t need a weathervane to tell which way the wind blows’

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Austin Gendron
(Wednesday) 9.25.13

Forecast Overview

The WNW-NW swell eases on Thursday, but we’re in for a surprise.  It might not make itself very visible at first, but it will likely in for a little bit of offshore flow helping where it can.

The Swell

WNW-NW (300-315) and a mix of shorter-period energy generated by the NW winds on Tuesday night and Wednesday are going to be starting to ease Thursday as the low pressure system that created both swells starts to make its way east of the Great Basin.  Surface level gradients are going to shift offshore which should mean less NW wind slop on the surface.  Periods for the bigger swell should still be around 10-12 seconds.

Get more details on how this swell will affect your favorite spots in the Surf Region Forecasts by clicking the regions name/link under its chart.

San Francisco/San Mateo Santa Cruz/Monterey Central Coast

The Surf

The surf drops more on Thursday, with the better exposure around San Francisco seeing wave heights running head to a couple feet overhead.  The Central Coast continues to be a little smaller with wave heights running waist to head+ with magnets and better NW exposure seeing some overhead or slightly bigger waves.  Santa Cruz and some of the other southerly wrap locations will probably be in the knee to chest high range, with the top spots seeing set in the shoulder to overhead range.  Conditions are where the surf is going to improve.  If you didn’t get my Alice in Wonderland reference above I was quoting the Cheshire Cat, the notoriously frustrating and evasive character.  If you look closely you can see him in the surface level pressure gradients off the West Coast.

Like the winds, he has a way of being nice and encouraging for a bit, but very fickle and quickly changing to a more antagonistic demeanor.  It looks like tomorrow could fulfill the metaphor, with light possibly offshore winds in the morning shifting onshore and becoming a bit breezy at least along the coast in the afternoon.  This may mean some cleaner conditions in the morning, with more texture in the afternoon…. that’s how things are supposed to play out… we’ll see though.

Check your local tide and wind conditions here in your region’s 5-day forecast for exact times and heights:

San Francisco | San Mateo | Santa Cruz | Monterey | San Luis Obispo

The Weather

Low pressure moves towards Idaho as a shortwave trough drops through California elongating the area of low pressure and acting somewhat as an inside slider.  This should generate a little more NE gradient and thus the possibility for offshore winds.  The winds over the outer waters will likely be more N-NW, and as the interior heats up through the day the sea breeze will likely take over.  SOooo lighter morning winds possibly offshore for some areas, then a switch to more of a N-NW breeze in the 10 to 20 mph range for most areas.  Santa Cruz is the main exception, where the headland will break down the winds a bit, maybe even channel them more NE through the mountain pass.  As far as weather goes, it looks like a mostly nice day, with maybe a few areas of patchy fog and low clouds along the Central Coast, but clear and dry everywhere else.

The Skinny

Apparently my 3.5 year old daughter has found a way to control my brain.  If I start referencing dinosaurs, race cars, little red riding hood or other Disney characters don’t be surprised (her favorite character from the Lion King is Scar…).  Anyways hopefully the Cheshire Cat plays nicely tomorrow, I’m a little skeptical though.  Friday looks like the more hopeful day for offshores in the morning.  There should still be plenty of surf though and with the winds at least easing Thursday morning and a dropping morning tide, there should definitely be some fun waves out there.

Austin Gendron
Surf Forecaster