WNW-NW swell on tap for the weekend and pretty much all of next week

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Adam Wright
(Thursday) 10.16.14

Short Range Surf Forecast Overview

More WNW-NW swell (285-300 but strongest at NW 290-300 spots) moves in on Friday with medium-short swell periods (10-12 seconds). This new energy is a little bigger than what we saw during the middle of the week, which is a good thing…but it also comes with a little bit of unstable weather that could cause some earlier wind issues during the mid-morning.

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

We can expect this mix to continue to build Friday night and then eventually peak over the weekend. As it peaks look for the average WNW-NW facing beaches to see waist-chest high surf with some shoulder high sets. The standout NW facing beaches, particularly the good combo breaks and excellent medium-period breaks, will have more consistent chest-shoulder high surf with some head high sets mixing on the better parts of the tide swing.

Thanks to a stronger storm pushing down through the Gulf of Alaska over the next 24-36 hours we are going to see a new WNW-NW swell (285-300 but again hitting the truly NW exposed spots harder) arrive through the day on Sunday, showing a few new lines around Santa Barbara/Ventura around midday, while filling in the regions further south late in the day. This new swell will peak overnight into Monday morning before it starts to slowly taper off. We can expect the average spots to be in the waist-shoulder range with the better NW standouts seeing some head-high and overhead+ sets.

That isn’t all we have going either…yet another storm in the train of systems moving through the NPAC storm track is forecast to set up another decent shot of WNW-NW energy (285-300) that hits throughout the day on Tuesday, peaking Tuesday night and then holding through Wednesday-Thursday. Size isn’t totally locked in on this one yet…but the long-range charts think it may come in even stronger than the preceding swell. If things go well we could see consistent chest-head high surf for many of the better exposed spots and some steady overhead-overhead+ sizes at the standouts.

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

We got lots going on in the North Pacific so let’s jump right into it…

The storm setting up swell for later this weekend doesn’t look all that impressive on this chart (for one it is being totally overshadowed by the bigger system near the Aleutians)…but the satellite images, as well as some of the satellite wind measurements, are showing some decent 30-35 knots of fetch in that little pocket of stormy activity just to the NE of Hawaii. If this system was the only thing we had going on in the NPAC it wouldn’t be that great of a swell-maker but since it is riding over some active sea-state set up by the previous storm, and it is lower in latitude than the last couple of storms, it ends up having more time to generate swell for Socal. I am not expecting very long-periods (10-14 seconds will probably be the range) from this storm, but it will have some decent swell sizes and will keep the exposed spots in playful consistent surf through the start of the week (check out the short-range section for the details on size and timing).

The Aleutian storm is the next system in line to send waves for next week. This storm is already starting to intensify and the next 2-3 days will have it pushing ESE away from the Aleutians into a better mid-upper latitude position while it continues to strengthen.

The storm really ‘pops’ in about 3-4 days…at that point the charts show the storm core much lower in latitude and much closer to the West Coast…both of which are good for the swell it will end up producing.

Another good feature of this storm is that it hangs around till about the 108-hour range before the winds and core of the storm start to fall apart, which gives it a lot of duration to go with the positioning and intensity of the storm. A good indicator of this storm’s swell potential is that you can see some still fairly big sea-heights moving out from the stormy area and heading toward the West Coast, which means that the swell maintains some decent size while it loses the wind energy that produced it.

If everything stays on track we would be looking at a fairly solid shot of WNW-NW energy (280-300) that would arrive with long-period energy late on Monday Oct 20…with the peak of the swell filling in throughout Socal on Tuesday-Wednesday Oct 21-22. At this point sizes look like they will be in the chest-head high range for most of the more average WNW facing beaches with the potential for a few bigger sets if the conditions stay nice. The standout NW facing beaches will be in the shoulder-overhead range with the chance for some larger overhead+ sets if everything holds together.

Long-range charts have another Aleutian storm following the one that forms over the weekend. This one also looks intense, but the charts have it staying a little further to the north than the preceding system…at least at its strongest point. It will eventually dip down a little more after it peaks, but it means that a lot of the energy will be tracking in from the NW (290-300) even though the full swell direction of the incoming swell will be spread across the (280-300) range.

At this point this long-range storm would be in position to send in more swell for Oct 25-26. Sizewise I think it will be sort of similar to the swell earlier next week, but with the steeper swell direction it may not be as wide-spread with more of the swell focusing on specific winter spots. However I should point out that we basically run out of charts before we see how the last part of this storm will behave…it may make it closer to the coast, or drop even lower in latitude, both of which would help to drive up wave heights and widen the swell direction enough that more areas can pick it up.

South Pacific Swell Forecast

We still aren’t seeing any truly active storms in the SPAC, but the forecast is showing some increasing activity over the next several days. At this point there aren’t many changes from the forecast earlier this week.

As we head into the weekend we will see some new storm activity around NZ move into the SPAC…it stays pretty shadowed at first, but the initial activity isn’t as much about generating swell as sort of ‘plowing the road’ of the storm track, which will get the water moving the right direction and potentially create better swell-making conditions for following cold fronts.

It will take another 3-4 days before we really see a somewhat decent storm move into the SPAC. The good news is the storm is stronger than anything we have seen in the last week or so and it is moving through the more open part of the SPAC storm track. The bad news is that it is pinned in closer to Antarctica than I would like and only part of it slipping to the NE, which is what we need to send a more substantial swell our direction.

If this storm can stay on track we would be looking at some new S-SSW swell (190-220) that would begin to arrive with some inconsistent long-period forerunners around Oct 24-25, but would peak more 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 storm track continues to show some minor storm activity…most of this is pretty zonal, moving west-to-east through our swell window, but because the SPAC is sooo freaking big even zonal storms will manage to aim some winds our direction. If this sticks around in the forecast…we would see the swell for Oct 25-27 back down, but not totally fade away thanks to a series of smaller/less-consistent SSW-SW energy that would move up from these relatively small pockets of fetch still moving across the SPAC.

East Pacific Tropical Forecast

Currently there are no active tropical storms in the EPAC…

But there is a new pocket of thunderstorms down by Central America/Mainland Mexico that may form into something over the weekend.

Unfortunately the current tropical forecast doesn’t show this storm moving very far from where it develops, so even if it does intensify it will be pretty low odds that it will be able to make it all the way to our swell window before it falls apart.

The next Long-range forecast will be posted on Monday, October 20, 2014.

Adam Wright
Surf Forecaster

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