Modest combo mix continues to hang around while more storms spin up in the Pacific

Adam Wright
(Tuesday) 4.14.15

Short Range Surf Forecast Overview

Over the next few days we are going to see a blend of S-SW energy (180-220), some local WNW-NW windswell (285-300), and eventually some longer-period NW swell (295-300) which will begin to arrive closer to the end of the week.

Get the live buoy forecast graph here – http://solspot.com/buoy/oceanside-offshore/forecast.

Aside for a couple of spikes in the local windswell our swell mix stays pretty steady with new pulses of Southern Hemi energy moving in to replace older fading ones as well as a generalized hum of WNW-NW background swell. These will work together to push knee-chest high surf into most of our average exposed beaches…along with a few shoulder high sets at the better than average combo spots. A few of the standout beaches, mostly the better spring combo-swell breaks, will have more consistent waist-shoulder high surf along with a few head high sets when the windswell pulses up a notch or two.

Later in the week, starting on Friday, but not really showing till Saturday, we will see some long-period NW swell (290-300 but really strongest at 295-300+) begin to arrive. This was kicked out by a decent NPAC storm, which unfortunately was never able to drop to a low enough latitude to get into the Socal swell window. We will see some of this energy mix into the other S-SW and windswell pulses that are already present, mostly due to the refraction (swell wrap) that we get from longer-period swells, but it will be fluky, inconsistent, and very selective as to where it will add any additional size. In most respects we can expect the wave heights to stay about the same as the work week…however there may be a handful of breaks that pull in this steeper NW swell and can squeeze a little more size from it.

Get more details on the Short Range Conditions in the Surf Region Forecasts:

Santa Barbara Ventura North LA County The South Bay
North Orange County South Orange County North San Diego South San Diego

Long-Range Surf and Swell Forecast

North Pacific Swell Forecast

There has been a pretty good looking storm moving through the high-latitudes of the North Pacific the last couple of days.

Unfortunately the ‘high-latitude’ part of the storm’s path is problematic. Looking back at where the storm has had the most intense winds and which direction we are seeing them move it shows that much of the storms best fetch was well above the 40N latitude mark…and really even past the 45N line in many cases. This means that almost all of the storm’s swell-producing winds were outside of our swell window.

However there were some less intense winds trailing the main front that slipped just enough fetch into our window that we will see some selective NW energy (290-300) that will arrive later this week and hold over the weekend. Like I mentioned it in the short-range section this swell will skip past most of Socal’s beaches, even ones generally considered winter/west-facing beaches…however I do expect at least a little bit of swell sneaking into the top NW facing spots that can funnel in longer-period NW energy.

You can see that the storm takes itself out of our swell window, moving NE into the Gulf of Alaska and continuing up into Canada and the Pacific NW.

Further out we see a similar pattern develop…another storm skirting across the high latitudes with only a touch of fetch slipping far enough to the south to send us some weak energy. This storm falls apart pretty quickly, basically running out of steam a day or two after it forms, which is sort of a moot point by then since most of it will be way outside of our swell window. There are a couple of other weak low-pressures showing further to the west but they have a lot of development to work through before they can become any sort of swell maker.

South Pacific Swell Forecast

The Southern Ocean has been piling up some intense storms under Australia and over New Zealand the last couple of days.

In fact over the next couple of days we are going to see the first of these really move into the South Pacific proper. Unfortunately the storm doesn’t get free and clear from the waters around New Zealand, which will leave a lot of its good winds buried beneath the South Pacific Island Shadow. We will eventually see some shadowed swell from this one around April 22-23…but it will be weak and inconsistent for most of Socal.

As the storm finally slides a bit more to the east it starts to push back down to the SE, a bad direction for storms to take since it basically aims all of the swell back toward Antarctica and away from our region. In this case though it sort of shows the new zonal pattern that is starting to develop in the SPAC. The big/nasty storm sitting just off Tasmania will try and flow right into that pattern after it tries to break off a piece of OZ.

I won’t bore you with the images of the storm moving away from the Tasman Sea, mostly because the energy slides southward and into the extreme high latitudes just off the Antarctic Ice…and from there it just charges across the SPAC on a very west-to-east path that only lets small amounts of fetch point our direction.

The bad news is that these swells are notoriously inconsistent but not enough that you can totally blow them off. The better news is that with the projected strength of the zonal storm track staying pretty intense the odds of some sort of playful sized swell heading our way for the end of April are pretty good. I still wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for giant waves from the SPAC at this point…however I would keep an eye on the winds (and my fingers crossed) that one of these storms can break out of the zonal pattern and do something special.

The next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, April 16, 2015.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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  • AC

    An long range update on Tuesday? Well I’ll be damned.

  • matt

    where are you Adam? When is the next update?

  • AC

    Would you expect Adam to produce an update on 4/20? He is too busy with other things.

  • matt

    been a week! We usually get 2 updates a week. I want my money’s worth! After all I pay nothing