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(Thursday) 5.17.12

Forecast has building NW windswell, pulses of S-SW swell, some weak tropical energy and Sir Edward will rule them all.

Surf Forecast Overview

As we move into the weekend we get a strong pulse of NW winds moving through our outer waters, driving up NW windswell, but also spinning up the eddy, which will stick around on and off for the next several days. We will also have some playful sized S-SW swells (180-220) from a few different storms in the Southern Hemi that will help combo up the NW windswell. Friday and Saturday will also see a very small SE tropical swell (150-170) from TS Aletta…but it’s energy will likely be lost in the other swells and crumble from the eddy.

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  • North Pacific Swell Height Forecast +156 hours
  • South Pacific Swell Height Forecast +24 hours
  • South Pacific Swell Period Forecast +144 hours
  • South Pacific Swell Height Forecast +180 hours
  • National Hurricane Center East Pacific Tropical Overview
  • East Pacific Swell Height Forecast +132 hours
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Long-Range Surf and Swell Forecast

North Pacific Swell Forecast

Things are still pretty boring over the next several days in the NPAC…the most dynamic thing I see in the first part of the forecast run are the winds moving down the West Coast that power our local windswell (and the eddy). So at this point there are no significant swell making storms in the NPAC.

Things do get a little more interesting at the very end of the charts…there is what looks like a very intense tropical system forming off to the West of Hawaii, heading for Asia, that will start to recurve back up into the mid-upper latitudes right as a cold front (heading east) moves into position. It is way too early to even count on all of these systems forming at the right times, but generally these types of air-masses/storms mixing together does some pretty radical things. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a very late season WPAC spring storm to form early next week…maybe even strong enough to get some fetch set up in our swell window. Check back on Monday to see how things are shaping up.

South Pacific Swell Forecast

The SPAC is starting to quiet down…at least take a break for a week or so…but we do have swell in the water that will keep us riding playful waves through the weekend and into early next week. You can see a bunch of the swells in the swell-period forecast charts still making their way northward…with arrival times slotted for the weekend.

Currently the last solid bit of storm activity is just finally exiting the area, and while most of the energy is aimed toward Southern and Central America/Mainland Mexico, there is still a good little patch of fetch of on the backside of the system that will send a last burst of S swell toward Southern California. This swell will arrive around May 21-22 on the tail end of the other swell pulses that will be hitting in the days before. It looks good for more fun size surf in the shoulder high range for the better spots.

Storm activity slims down a bit after this system clears out…and the swell mix will back down to smaller, more washed out knee-waist high sizes as we head into the few days after this next S swell peaks.The next real storm doesn’t set up until this upcoming weekend and it is pretty poorly positioned for Socal…better for Hawaii and Tahiti, but leaves us in a shadowed area. Oh it won’t totally leave us out but it looks like it will be smaller/less consistent than it would have been if the storm forms further east out of the South Pacific island shadow.

There is a little light at the end of the model…that shadowed storm sort of breaks up the holding pattern around New Zealand and we could see several mild/moderate systems moving into a better part of our swell window by the middle of next week (with swell arrival times lining up for the end of the month or early June) .

Tropical Forecast Outlook

Aletta, did move into our swell window briefly during the middle of the week and then hit a mix of wind-shear and cold water and basically petered out. We will get some minor tropical swell for Friday and Saturday but it will be so SE that many spots won’t even be able to pick it up and the spots that can will have eddy winds and texture to muck it up.

Further out the models are calling for another patch of disturbed weather to possibly become a named storm in the next couple of days…the NHC is giving it a 30% chance right now…but most of the swell models are showing it developing over the weekend so I expect the odds to go back up. Unfortunately it looks like this storm will stay pinned close to the Mainland Mexico Coast, sending in waves, and maybe weather to that region, some SE swell toward Baja Sur, but possibly not even reaching Socal’s SE swell window. Still hurricanes are tricky buggers…so it will be worth watching over the next few days and seeing how it really ends up developing.

The next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, May 21, 2012.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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