A couple of storms passing through the region should bring some fun sized surf

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Austin Gendron
(Monday) 3.20.17

Short Range Surf Forecast Overview

We’ve got a small mix of SSW (190-200) and WNW-NW (295-310) in the water at the moment, and we’re expecting some more moderate sized surf mid to late this week and over the weekend as a series of storms work their way through California, the main troughs will pass through Tuesday and Friday/Saturday.  Read more for details…..

Get the live Southern California Buoy Forecast graph here - http://solspot.com/buoy/oceanside-offshore/forecast.

Low pressure is expected to approach Southern California tonight, bringing showers/rain to the region through the day Tuesday.  Showers are forecast to become more scattered on Wednesday.  Breezy S-E prefrontal winds expected Tuesday bringing some small-textured windswell to parts of Santa Barbara exposed to the winds.  There will also be some residual WNW-NW energy already in the water and a small pulse of southern hemi (190-200) arriving.  For most of the exposed southerly breaks in Socal that means knee to waist high.  Combo spots and magnets could see occasionally waist-chest high sets.  Conditions are expected to remain variable and onshore on Wednesday, deteriorating more as the storm passes through and westerly winds start to increase.

The surf is also expected to increase as the system passes, building more Wednesday afternoon and evening with a few areas seeing waist to chest high+ surf.  The swell mix is due to peak Thursday, with additional wind swell and medium period energy producing waist to head high+ waves heights at standouts.  Size should ease somewhat Friday.  Overall conditions are not going to be anything to bat an eye at… The strong onshore winds will likely make for messy chop on the surface of the exposed coast.

Another storm, is going to approach for the weekend.  This time it looks like the upper trough will not be as strong as the system moving through on Wednesday.  It does look like its going to do a decent job of at least maintaining some fun W-WNW (270-290) that will pic up Saturday.  Wave heights should continue running waist to head high+ at standouts, although its a bit iffy how the conditions will play out with the low passing through Saturday.  It’s likely to be somewhat onshore though, with textured surface for exposed spots.

The far western part of the region (parts of Santa Barbara County) could see some southerly windswell, but for the most part this weekend is going to be mostly westerly swell/windswell mix with a bit of background energy from the Southern Hemisphere.  Size should hold through Sunday, and we could start to see more energy arriving early next week to keep the ball rolling.

Here’s what to expect on a day-to-day basis this week:

Monday the 21st the mix of windswell/swell from the northern hemisphere and longer-period southern hemi should mean more consistent knee to waist high+ waves through the day.

Tuesday the 22nd  Wave heights are looking a little questionable, likely dependent on the storm we’re watching.  My guess would be knee to chest high for exposed SW coast where windswell will be building and mixing with southern hemi in the water.  Westerly exposures will probably see a decrease to knee to waist high.

Wednesday the 23rd Very storm dependent, but likely knee to chest high for standouts, with less than desirable conditions.

Thursday the 24th waist to head high+ surf as the westerly swell mix peaks.  Conditions are likely to be pretty mixed up with strong westerly winds following the front.

Friday the 25th Southern hemi continues to bring knee to waist high+ surf to standout summer spots, westerly exposures are going to see size easing into the knee to chest high+ range.  Some standouts could be consistently waist-chest high.

Saturday the 26th  The second storm passes through the region, re-boosting wave heights back into the waist to head high+ range.  It looks like conditions could be a little more favorable, but will be storm dependent.

Sunday the 27th Surf should hold, with a mix of incoming windswell/swell from the west.  Wave heights likely to be in the waist to head high range.

Tropical Overview

No tropical cyclones at this time

Long-Range Surf and Swell Forecast

North Pacific Swell Forecast

All eyes remain on the long-range forecast for a decent late season long-period W-WNW (275-295) arriving early next week.

It’s been fairly consistent on the models now for the past week. A very energetic low developing off the coast of Japan in a couple days is expected to strengthen very quickly. As you can see in the image above, it’s possible that the system could develop 35-40+ foot seas in the West Pacific. It does look like it will start to back off some as it moves closer to the Dateline due to a ripple in the jet stream.

Because of the strength and size of system it looks like its going to generate a some very long-period forerunners around 22 to 23 seconds. Those should start arriving next Monday. It’s hard to say exactly how big it will bit, but combined with more locally generated swell (we’re likely going to see another trough approaching early next week) it will probably mean Central California will see overhead to double overhead+ surf, while Southern California sees chest to overhead+ wave heights during the peak. I’ll have updates on Thursday once the swell is starting it journey across the North Pacific.

South Pacific Swell Forecast

Following the small pulse of SSW due this coming weekend, the South Pacific is looking a little less organized for the current forecast. There’s still a series of weaker systems tracking their way around Antarctica, but they just aren’t looking all that impressive.

The rest of the forecast shows a lot of zonal fetch, which doesn’t usually mean California will be seeing much swell energy. As of right now we’re only really expecting a small blend of knee to waist high energy trickling in inconsistently next week. If anything more exciting happens I’ll obviously include it in next week’s forecast, but its just not in the cards right now.

Next long-range forecast expected for Thursday the 23rd of March. 

Austin Gendron
Surf Forecaster