Pulses of WNW-NW swell keep our surf rolling through the week…more NPAC and SPAC swell set for next weekend

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Adam Wright
(Monday) 10.20.14

Short Range Surf Forecast Overview

Between the tides, the occasionally funky morning winds, and still tweaked sandbars these last couple of WNW-NW swells haven’t be producing very much quality surf. It has been fun to ride if you were able to find the right sort of break, but these swells have struggled to push energy around Point Conception and into Socal’s exposed spots. Fortunately we are seeing a stronger WNW-NW swell (285-300) approaching the West Coast this afternoon…it already is hitting parts of the Central/Northern California coasts with some good numbers (and swell directions) showing on the buoys…but we will still want to keep an eye on the Socal buoys as this energy works its way down the coast.

Get the live buoy forecast graph here – http://solspot.com/buoy/point-loma-south/forecast

This decent shot of WNW-NW energy (285-300) will fill in throughout the day on Tuesday, peaking Tuesday night and then dropping slowly through Wednesday and then stabilizing Thursday-Friday. Sizewise for the peak days…I am expecting to see fairly consistent waist-shoulder high surf for many of the better exposed WNW-NW facing spots and some steady chest-head high sizes with some occasional head high+ sets at the standouts.

On Friday we will actually get another smaller WNW-NW swell (290-300 with just a little bit of WNW energy in the mix) that will come up through the day and likely hold overnight into Saturday. This one isn’t as big as Tuesday’s swell but we should still see some knee-chest high surf for the average spots and waist-shoulder high+ at the standout NW facing beaches.

Weatherwise things look a little unstable through Tuesday/early-Wednesday thanks to a cold front impacting the Central Coast. This will eventually peter out before it can move down toward Socal, and in the process it will pull in a ridge of high pressure and more offshore gradient (at least for the morning hours) for the second half of the week.

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

Like I mentioned in the Short-range overview the forecast charts changed around quite a bit over the last few days…so some of the storms we had in last Thursday’s forecast are no longer in the mix or if they are they are considerably weaker or poorly positioned. That being said we will still see a steady stream of WNW-NW energy over the next few days, just not quite as much as it looked like before.

The latest swell making storm is the cold front just starting to hedge over the Northern/Central Coasts this afternoon. This storm was one of the ones that actually stayed on track…so we are still looking at a fairly solid shot of WNW-NW energy (280-300) that would arrive with long-period energy late on Monday Oct 20 (which we are seeing on the buoys)…with the peak of the swell filling in throughout Socal on Tuesday Oct 21. You can get all the size details in the short-range section…but plan on Tuesday being the peak day and then smaller, but still rideable waves showing on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday.

The storms that sort of gutted last week’s forecasts were the systems following the bigger system currently moving through the Gulf of Alaska…instead of strengthening and tracking in close to the coast they are stalling out in the higher latitudes, keeping the much needed swell-making wind out of our swell window. Still they are supposed to drop a little further south as they get closer to the West Coast, so we will have to see how they behave over the next couple of days.

It will be the combination of those low-pressure systems that sends in the modest shot of NW swell for Friday-Saturday, which as of right now look to be in the knee-chest high range for many spots and some shoulder-high+ sets at the standouts. Again these could come in stronger, but we would need the developing storms to intensify considerably and drop even lower in latitude to make a significant difference.

The longer-range charts actually show the ridge of high pressure settling over the West Coast later this week, and if the forecast is on track it looks strong enough to really stall out the Gulf of Alaska storm activity and force it to move southward while it weakens. While the loss of the storm’s intensity is a bummer the new position is actually pretty good…maybe this will end up being more of a wave maker than it is currently projected to be.

The extreme long-range charts show a more intense storm forming to the NNE of Hawaii over the upcoming weekend…

Unfortunately it also has it tracking almost directly toward British Columbia along a path that would give it very little chance to send much more than a glancing shot of NW swell for around Oct 29-30

South Pacific Swell Forecast

The SPAC has been playing a little bit of possum lately…the forecast models have been dialed down for the Southern Hemi, so they are undercalling the storm strength a little bit.

We just had a better looking storm form up almost due south of Socal the last several days, which put enough wind on the water to generate some new S-SSW swell (190-220) that will begin to arrive with some inconsistent long-period forerunners around Oct 24-25, but would peak (from the more S direction) on Oct 26-27. Sizewise, because we are shifting seasons it makes gauging this one a little tricky, however based on a few similar looking storms we had earlier in the summer it looks like we would see waist-chest high surf at the S-SSW facing beaches and a few chest-shoulder high sets at the standouts.

Further out the SPAC goes pretty zonal for a few days…or at least all of the storms that are in our window are moving the wrong way. It takes about 4-5 days but we finally see some new storm activity push out from under New Zealand that has the potential to send an inconsistent pulse of SW swell (205-220) that would hit Socal around Nov 1. This one still has a few days before it really pulls together, hopefully it will behave like the last few storms and come through stronger than the charts are giving it credit for.

The really long-range charts are looking very minimal at this point…so after the small combo energy that hits around the start of November it looks like things may shut down for a while.

East Pacific Tropical Forecast

Currently there are no active tropical storms in the EPAC…

PIC 5 day

…and no new ones expected to form over the next 4-5 days.

The next Long-range forecast will be posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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