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 hanging...it 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 Window...at 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.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tropical Storm Elida

Tropical Storm Elida formed just off the southern coasts of Mainland Mexico early on Saturday.

Elida jumped from a tropical disturbance to Tropical Storm strength in less than 12 hours and current NHC forecasts are showing that she may reach hurricane wind speeds by early next week (probably late on Monday). Currently Elida is tracking WNW at about 18 knots and has just started to move into the Tip of Baja’s swell window. Forecasts are calling for a slight shift to a more WNW’erly angle over the next day or so (300-degree track instead of a 290-295 degree one), which will be better for swell production for Baja.

Unfortunately it looks like Elida is going to hit cooler water and start and more westerly storm track before it gets to the Southern California swell window. The fact that it be losing intensity, taking a more oblique track, and is still forecast to be moving at nearly 15-18 knots is really going to hamper its ability to send swell our direction.

Check out the latest forecast track from NHC

When you get down to brass tacks from a surf perspective Cabo and the East Cape down in Baja will get some swell from Elida…likely it will be in the overhead range, (and maybe bigger) if the storm can intensify and slow down its movement westward. I would expect swell to begin showing on Monday (July 14th) strengthening through the day and then peaking on Tuesday and maybe into Wednesday before dropping off. I am not sure if it is really worth a trip down there unless you have some disposable income to burn, since it is still a roll-of-the-dice that the storm will get stronger and have a chance to generate much of a swell.

For SoCal, at this point, I am not expecting much from Elida. We may see some background SE energy from her if she can hang on long enough to make it to our swell window. Likely anything she produces will get lost in building swell that we have arriving from the Southern Hemisphere later next week.

If something changes for SoCal I will definitely let you guys know.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Friday's Surf in Baja Sur - Where big-ass fireworks are legal

Friday will be a surf day...again it looks like the Tip and the East Cape will be the best thanks to some swell from Tropical Depression Douglas (downgraded from a Tropical Storm Thursday night).

We will have a mix of SW swell, tropical S swell, and some local windswell.

Average spots throughout Baja Sur will be in the waist-chest high+ range...with a few bigger waves at the standout combo spots.

Cabo and the East Cape will be the biggest with the tropical swell...most spots there will hold in the chest-shoulder high+ range while the standout S facing spots see some head high+ sets through the early morning and then dropping fast by the afternoon.

If you are from the US, either an ex-pat or on Vacation have a great holiday...everyone else, you guys have a great time too! Try not to blow yourselves up.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Thursday's Surf in Baja Sur - Is that TS Douglas I smell?

Thursday looks like a surf day for most of Baja Sur but it looks particularly good for the Tip and the East Cape as TS Douglas strengthens and slowly tracks toward Baja Sur (before veering off to the NW before it gets very close to land.)

We will have a mix of SW energy from the Southern Hemisphere, local WNW windswell, and slowly increasing tropical S swell from TS Douglas (and fading energy from Boris).

Most exposed spots will see waist-shoulder high surf. Standout S facing spots along the Tip will have consistent shoulder-head high surf by the afternoon...maybe even a touch bigger at the standout spots. Expect lots of consistency at the breaks that can pick up the tropical swell...the lesser exposed areas will have longer waits for waves.

If possible I would plan on staying around the Tip and the East Cape if you can. Douglas is not forecast to strengthen past Tropical Storm strength but there is always a chance that he could become more intense which would put bigger surf into the exposed breaks.

If you are not down there and are sort of on the fence about pulling the trigger to get a flight...I think that this swell/storm is still sort of a roll of the dice. It will be fun but not really worth spending a ton of money trying to chase it around.

Tropical Storm Douglas - setting up some waves for the Tip of Baja

Well we went from almost from 0-to-60 in the tropics over the last few days. We have had 3 named storms develop since June 27th and now the National Hurricane Center is forecasting another named system to develop in the next day or so.

Currently one of the three named storms is the former TD-4E which strengthened into Tropical Storm Douglas earlier this morning.

Check out the latest forecast run for TS Douglas

Waves for SoCal (yeah not so much)
As you can see from the red line TS Douglas is still out of the Southern California swell window but he is inching closer as he tracks to the NW at 8 knots. At this pace it looks like the surf-generating parts of the storm (the NE and SE) won't actually move into the swell window until some time later on Friday...unfortunately it doesn't look like Douglas is going to get much stronger so I don't think he will be much of a wave maker for SoCal...some small waves...but nothing to get real fired up about. If anything shows it won't be until we move into the weekend...likely later on Saturday and into Sunday.

Waves for Baja Sur
Baja Sur, in particular the Tip, is looking much better in terms of getting surf from TS Douglas. He is positioned only a few hundred miles from Cabo and while he doesn't have great overall wind speeds he is well-positioned and moving the right direction which really help generate swell. At this point it looks like the expose areas around the Tip and the East Cape will start to see new tropical S swell move in on Thursday afternoon and then peak into Friday. I expect wave heights to hold in the shoulder-head high range at the better exposed S facing breaks. Remember those sizes are at the Tip...wave height and set consistency will drop off the further north you move up the Pacific Side.

Waves for NorCal
We have a tropical region?