Monday, June 27, 2011

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where did the forecast go?

Hey guys…I know most of you already know where to find the forecasts now that they are over on…our new, much more powerful site.

But just in case some of you new visitors googled in…I wanted to make sure that you can find all of the new cool stuff. This blog isn’t updating the forecast anymore, all of that has been pushed over to the new site. Here are a few of the links that will hopefully help you find some waves (and hopefully good conditions too.)

For those of you that just wanted the forecast without any of the bells and whistles…The same ol’ Socal Forecast can be found here (this is the normal forecast for all of Southern California and generally gives you all the info you need to find surf for the next day)

Here is the link to my long-range forecasts where you can find all the details you need to plan your surf sessions for the next several days, and some even longer range outlooks that can give you a heads up on incoming swells.

Since the Southern California coastline is all jacked up (uh I mean unique)…we took the forecast and broke it down into a bunch of different “zones” that help to show how much swell, what sort of wind, and how the tides are going to affect the different regions.

Santa Barbara
North LA
the South Bay
North Orange County
South Orange County
North San Diego
South San Diego

If that wasn’t enough we even put together a pretty comprehensive list of the surf breaks and beaches in each region. These aren’t surf reports, but they give very specific weather, wind, tides, water-quality, and a bunch of other cool stuff. When you first drop onto a spot page you will see “Current or Live” information, but if you click around you can find all kinds of cool stuff (like hour-by-hour wind forecasts going out for a full week…just the thing you need to plan a midday session if the winds lay down.) Check em out when you get a chance…

Santa Barbara County Spots
Gaviota State Beach
Arroyo Quemada
Refugio State Beach
El Capitan State Beach
Haskells Beach
Summerland Beach
Goleta Beach
Butterfly Beach
East Beach at Sycamore Creek
Hammonds Beach
Hope Ranch Beach
East Beach at Mission Creek
Sands at Coal Oil Point
Arroyo Burro Beach
Leadbetter Beach
Carpinteria City Beach
Carpinteria State Beach
Rincon Beach

Ventura County Spots
La Conchita Beach
Mussel Shoals Beach
Oil Piers Beach
Hobson County Park
Solimar Beach
Emma Wood State Beach
San Buenaventura Beach
Ventura Harbor South Jetty
Surfers Knoll
McGrath State Beach
Oxnard Beach Park
Hollywood by the Sea
Port Hueneme Beach Park
Point Mugu Beach

North Los Angeles County Spots
County Line Beach
Leo Carrillo Beach
Will Rogers State Beach
Topanga State Beach
Santa Monica Beach
Paradise Cove Pier
Zuma Beach

South Los Angeles County Spots
Venice City Beach
El Porto
Manhattan Beach Pier
Hermosa Redondo Beach
Lunada Bay
Rancho Palos Verdes

North Orange County Spots
Seal Beach
Seal Beach Pier
Surfside Sunset Beach
Bolsa Chica State

Huntington Cliffs
Huntington City Beach
Huntington State Beach
Santa Ana River Mouth
Upper Jetties Newport

Newport Pier Blackies
15th Street Newport Beach
Corona del Mar Beach
Laguna Beach Crescent Bay Beach
Laguna Beach
Aliso Creek Beach South Laguna

South Orange County Spots
Salt Creek Beach
Dana Point Harbor Baby Beach
Doheny Beach
Capistrano Beach
T Street San Clemente
San Clemente State Beach

North San Diego Spots
San Onofre State Beach
Old Mans San Onofre
Trails San Onofre
Oceanside Surfrider Way
Cassidy Street Oceanside
Tamarack Av Carlsbad
Ponto Carlsbad
Beacons Beach Leucadia
Moonlight Beach Encinitas
Swamis Beach Encinitas
Cardiff State Beach San Elijo
Seaside State Park
Del Mar San Dieguito River Beach

South San Diego Spots
Blacks Beach
La Jolla Shores
Windansea Beach
Pacific Beach Tourmaline
Mission Beach
Ocean Beach
Sunset Cliffs
Coronado Beach
Imperial Beach

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Storm and Swell Alert – North Pacific is looking to get Nasty

So I have been looking at the forecast charts and the swell models for the last few days (well lets not kid anyone…my near OCD has me looking at the charts all the time…and once I find a way I will probably have it fed directly into my brain). So like I said, I have been looking at the charts and there, right at the end of the forecast run, was this ugly mutant of a storm.

Usually I don’t put a ton of faith in the weather models when we move waaaaaaay out into the forecast run, they have a tendency to overcall things, and the timing is rarely ever correct…but in this case this storm definitely caught my eye.

Now, a couple of days later, the storm is still there on the charts and the swell models are still calling for it to crank out a LOT of swell…particularly for Hawaii (and the really, really unlucky people that live in the Aleutian Islands.) There is also a pretty large hunk of WNW swell that is supposed to head over to California, hitting NorCal pretty hard and throwing some large surf into Socal as well.

I am still a little “iffy” on the storm’s intensity and timing since it is not forecast to develop for another 4-5 days, which, for me, is still in the marginal area of the forecast run. Personally I would like to have the storm get a couple of days closer to developing before we start ringing alarm bells.

OK, that being said, lets look at what we can expect if this storm lives up to the current forecast.


The storm itself is part of what is called a “complex low-pressure”, which basically means that it is a series of fronts and low-pressure centers that are all mixing together in one big mess. Usually with these complex lows you have an “anchor” low-pressure that sits up in the higher-latitudes and a series of intense storms that push through the mid-upper latitudes like they are riding some crazy merry-go-round.

In this case the anchor low is currently developing, and will likely move into place over the upcoming weekend…and even though it is the leading element of the bigger system it will be sending out waves as well (that will arrive a few days earlier than the larger system).

The most intense part of this complex low is when everything sort of collapses into one big low-pressure…which happens in about 4-5 days.

The current GFS pressure model is calling for the low pressure to drop to something close to 952mb, (which if this was a tropical storm/hurricane it would be something close to a category 3 system…which is why the Holy Crap is on that chart). As a frontal storm it means that winds will be close to 50-60+ knots near the core of the low. With those sort of winds, and all the pre-existing sea-state that gets kicked up by the preceding fronts, we can expect the storm to produce something that looks like this…and yes those are 40-foot+ seas.

Needless to say that even if the top 10-15-feet of that is just storm fluff there will still be a pretty significant swell forming from this storm.


Surfwise…Hawaii is forecast to receive the largest chunk of energy…likely something in the range of 18-20 feet of deepwater energy at 17-20 seconds, which can translate to 30-40-foot faces as it hits some of the Hawaiian reefs. The swell is pretty NW’erly in swell angle, which is good for spots like Jaws (Peahi). It looks like this swell will come up fast late on Dec 6th with the peak of the swell hitting overnight into Dec 7th. One thing that could suck is the winds…the trailing part of the storm’s front could show around the same time setting up W-NW winds which doesn’t do the north shores of any islands and good.

Northern and Central California will see a smaller but still impressive amount of energy that will hit North of Point Conception…something like 15-16 feet of deepwater swell at 18-20 seconds. This will show some energy late on Dec 8th but will likely peak throughout the day on 9th…the angle will be pretty WNW’erly (275-295) which means that it will hit a lot more spots with more energy than the NW swells usually do.

Southern California is forecast to see this swell showing some long-period energy, particularly at the more northerly counties of Santa Barbara and Ventura, by the afternoon on the 9th. The peak of the swell will hit throughout the day on the 10th. The WNW angle works better for Socal as well (280-300), so there will be less shadowing. At this point the swell looks good for easy head high to overhead surf at the average spots, and the top spots going several feet overhead. The best San Diego spots could see more consistent double-overhead+ sets.

Unfortunately weather looks like it will be an issue for all of California as well…a smaller cold front is forecast to bring onshore wind and rain about the same time as the swell peaks…hopefully this part of the forecast won’t be correct.

So that is all I have for now…keep in mind that this is pure forecast at this point…I will definitely keep you guys posted as the storm actually develops. Cross your fingers that it lives up to the forecast hype.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tropcial Update – Tropical Storm Kevin and Hurricane Jimena

Man I leave computer range for a couple of days and the whole tropical region has to get all squirrelly on me…(hmmm maybe I should leave more often…sort of like a human sacrifice). Anyhoo while I was gone we got not one, but two new tropical systems; Tropical Storm Kevin and Hurricane Jimena.

Right now TS Kevin is a relatively weak tropical storm with winds holding around 35 knots and few gusts around 40 knots, which puts him right over tropical depression strength. Since he is inside our swell window, and sort-of organized (showing some convection), I think that we will see some swell from Kevin…t also helps that his storm track is taking him almost directly at us. I am not expecting a lot of surf…just a weak pulse of S-SSW swell (180-190) that arrives on September 1st and sends some minor knee-chest high waves into exposed areas…the swell should linger for a couple of days but unless he gets a lot stronger we aren’t going to a ton of surf from him.

Hurricane Jimena looks a bit more bad-ass. Right now she is about 500-600 miles SE of the Tip of Baja and has already reached Category 2 strength, with core winds around 120-knots and gusts nearing 145-knots. Her current track is taking her WNW around 7-10 knots...and the hurricane models are forecasting her to recurve back into Southern Baja as she intensifies. (The NHC is likely to issue a Hurricane Watch in Southern Baja for Jimena later tonight or tomorrow).

Unfortunately for Southern California Jimena is not in our swell window…and is not forecast to reach it before making landfall.

She will however be a wave-maker for Southern Baja, parts of Northern Mainland Mexico, and even a few of those protected spots in the Gulf of California. Swell from Jimena will be filling in today and should continue to build over the next couple of days as she continues to intensify. Sizewise it is going to be well-overhead as it peaks, and potentially very dangerous (as well as potentially very stormy) since the storm will be moving into the area.

I think it would be quite risky to head into the area to try and get surf from Jimena…I would maybe stick it out for an extra day if I was already down at an exposed spot (unless authorities told me to leave of course), but heading down, and likely arriving as the hurricane does, won’t be the best call. Even if the hurricane doesn’t make landfall right on top of you, there are always heavy rains and flash floods that can be very dangerous.

The track for Jimena isn’t set in stone…cross your fingers that she drifts a bit more west and swings wide in her recurve.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Something brewing in the South Pacific - Waves on the way

So after watching the storm, and the swell it produced, for the last couple of days it looks like things are on track for a pretty decent run of swell throughout Central America, Mainland Mexico, Baja Mexico, and Southern California.

I revised the forecast a little from the one I issued a couple of days ago...not much size-wise but just a little on the timing.

Central America and Southern Mainland Mexico will be the biggest...look for easy well-overhead surf for most exposed areas. Top spots will go double-overhead and bigger as the swell peaks on the 18-19th. Deepwater breaks like Puerto Escondido will be even bigger, probably triple-overhead+ on the sets.

Northern Mainland Mexico will see the size drop off a bit...just due to the more southerly angle of the swell. Look for most spots in that area to see consistent surf in the head high to a couple of feet overhead range. Standout S facing spots will have sets going a few feet overhead as the swell peaks late on the 18 and into the 19th.

Baja Sur will see the swell move in and peak on the 19-20th...with the tip peaking a little earlier. Most spots will be running in the shoulder-overhead range as the swell starts really working. Standout spots, particularly breaks near the Tip, will have sets going a few feet overhead and a little bigger at the swell's peak.

Southern California and Baja Norte will have long-period energy from this S swell (170-190) showing late on Friday the 18th...this will build overnight and through Saturday, eventually peaking Saturday afternoon through Sunday, then slowly fading out on Monday. At this point we can expect the average S facing spots to see shoulder-head high+ surf while the standout S facing areas, particularly in North Orange County, see some overhead+ sets as the swell peaks. To top it off there will be some tropical energy still lingering around as leftovers from Elida slowly fade away...this energy should help to fill in the consistency gaps and put a lot of waves into the exposed areas throughout the weekend.

Make sure to check back...I will be talking about the swell some more in the Daily Update as we get closer...or I might bail to Mexico and leave you is about 50/50 right now (just kidding...well sort of).

Here are some links to the previous posts

Post 1
Post 2

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hurricane Elida - Sending waves for Baja and slowly reaching the SoCal Swell Window

Elida jumped to Category 1 Hurricane Strength last night and has held that level of intensity for most of the day. She has been in a good position to send swell to Baja Sur, in particular to Cabo and the East Cape...but not so much on the Pacific Side of Baja (yet, it is only a matter of time at this point).

Currently she is moving WNW (295-degrees) at about 12 knots, which means she has slowed down a touch and is giving herself a more time to churn out swell...

(remember that for all storms, and tropical systems in particular because of their smaller fetch, that the time that a storm's fetch spends over a patch water is as important as the movement track and the storm's intensity...if the storm is moving too fast the fetch has a limited amount of time to generate swell before it moves off to new water, expending its time/energy creating new favorable sea-state, rather than pure swell. Ideally you would want the storm to either move slowly toward you, or stay in place....check out the hurricane surf post I did at the beginning of the season for more details.)

Anyway at this point Elida is right on the edge of the SoCal Swell her current speed and track she is likely to reach it later tonight or early tomorrow...but really the swell producing portions of the storm won't fully move into our window until Tuesday-midmorning.

She isn't the largest storm either...current estimates only have her tropical storm strength winds extending out about 75 nautical miles from the core...and the majority of those in the NE quadrant.

Basically what this means is that currently she is not the greatest swell producer...Baja Sur (IE Cabo and the Tip) will do ok with overhead+ surf due to the track and positioning of the storm as it came together.

By the time it reaches the SoCal swell window it will begin to lose some steam as well as take a more westerly track. I am expecting some shoulder high surf at the standout SE facing spots, basically North Orange County, later on Thursday and into Friday. Since this will be mixing with a building S-SW swell it is going to be hard to tell the difference.

Here are a few images that I pulled on this storm.

This is from the Naval Research Laboratory

Here is a satellite image of the storm

And finally here is a image from the NHC...check out the next new tropical disturbance forming near Guatemala.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tropical Storm Elida – Update

Not much has changed in the short-range portion of the forecast for TS Elida.

She is still strengthening, she will still likely become a hurricane tomorrow, and she is still tracking out W around 14-16 knots.

As of this evening Elida does look like she make it into the SoCal swell window with a little more intensity than it looked like in previous forecasts. If this lives up to be the case then we may see a little bit of tropical swell as we head toward the end of next week…likely on Thursday or Friday.

It still doesn’t look like it will be a significant swell, maybe chest-high the top SSE spots…but these new tropical waves will be mixing with a stronger and more dominant S swell coming from the Southern Hemisphere, so then could ad some extra “pop” to the surf as we head into the weekend.