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Forecaster Report

Southern California

Report Date & Time: September 30, 2014 7:30 AM
By forecaster: Nathan Cool
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Surf Synopsis
Today (Tuesday) we have a mix of short period SW ground swell, short period SE tropical swell, and short period NW wind swell in SoCal. Light NW wind and ground swell increase Wednesday the 1st. Sizable southern hemi ground swell builds Thursday the 2nd, peaking Friday the 3rd (and lingering for a while thereafter). Long range models continue to show another Baja-riding hurricane for swell potential in SoCal Sunday the 5th into Monday the 6th, although not all models are aligned on this today. The potential southern hemi for the 8th has been downgraded, but there is new potential for the 12th. Condition-wise: mild Santa Ana develops during the second half of the week; offshore winds possibly brisk in some spots later this week; the tide settles down this week before a very wide swing next week; and water temps are fair for this time of year.

Early this morning periods were running 11 seconds from 190°, 11 seconds from 175°, and 8 seconds from 315°.

Most all breaks were running waist high.


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Swell Forecast and Schedule
Buoys in the outer waters show NW wind swell in the 7' range. Nearshores around SoCal were running 2.5' with southerly swell being nearly all of that.

The tide settles down a bit this week before a wide swing next week. Today we had a 2.8' low around 7:00 AM, we'll see a 5' high around 1:45 PM, and then a 0.9' low around 9:45 PM.

Water temps remain a little lower than last week, which is pretty much to be expected now that we're just one day away from October. Water temps were running 67-68 in SD, 65-68 in OC (although Newport recently reported 70), 69-70 in LA (although Zuma reported 65), 68 in VC, and 66 in SB.

Swell-wise: Today we're seeing a mix of swell from a Tasman Sea storm that formed over 2 weeks ago, SE swell from Hurricane Rachel, and localized NW wind swell. The southerly element of this swell combo will back off (temporarily) Wednesday.

Wednesday the 1st, as southerly swell backs off, we should see an increase in light NW ground swell (300° at 12 seconds) from an Aleutian system. It looks like we'll also see some wind swell form off the NCal coast as gradients tighten up in that region in response to the approaching Santa Ana (creating winds in the outer waters). Some of the wind swell should make it to SoCal, but overall, all breaks are looking at waist high surf with possibly some pluses at west facing spots.

Thursday the 2nd into Friday the 3rd is looking at a decent dose of southern hemi ground swell. This is from a fairly sizable system that broke off Antarctica last week south of New Zealand. we should see chest high sets at south facing breaks Thursday the 2nd (building throughout the day), reaching head high Friday the 3rd. This will be angled from around 205° with initially 18- to 20-second periods.

Friday the 3rd is also looking at light NW ground swell coming into the mix from a western Pacific system, but at waist high for west facing breaks, this may not be as noticeable as wrap from the New Zealand SW will be in the water then (potentially chest high at times at direct west facing spots).

The New Zealand SW should continue Saturday the 4th and Sunday the 5th before before backing down Monday the 6th, more so Tuesday the 7th.

Long range models continue to show SE hurricane swell for Sunday the 5th (PM) into Monday the 6th. The 108h+ models show yet another hurricane taking that northward trek along Baja. Not all models are in agreement on this one, so it does need to be monitored over the next few days. If this one does form, we could see head high+ sets at south facing breaks able to work a steep 165° angle. Periods would run 12-14 seconds.

The potential Pitcairn swell for the 8th has been dropped from the forecast. Models today show that system not gaining the strength predicted a couple days ago.

The 72h southern hemi models though show a lot of activity around New Zealand and the Tasman Sea. This could bring SoCal some SW ground swell around the 12th, perhaps chest high or so at south facing spots, but it is a bit early to call that today.


Here's how the day-to-day is breaking down so far:

Wednesday the 1st is expected to run waist high everywhere with pluses at west facing spots.

Thursday the 2nd should see SW ground swell start to build, running chest high at south facing breaks early and building throughout the day. West facing breaks are looking at waist high surf.

Friday the 3rd is expected to run head high on the sets at south facing spots. West facing breaks are expected to run chest max from the wrap and a touch of NW ground swell.

Saturday the 4th looks similar.

Sunday the 5th should see chest to at times head high sets at south facing breaks. However, there is potential on the long range models for hurricane swell later in the day.

Monday the 6th looks about chest high at south facing breaks; however, there is potential on the long range models for hurricane swell then.

Tuesday the 7th should see southern hemi ground swell back off to around chest max, smaller at west facing breaks.

Wednesday the 8th, so far, looks about waist to chest at south facing spots, smaller at west facing breaks.

Thursday the 9th, so far, looks about waist high most everywhere.


Weather Outlook
Moderate fall weather through Wednesday as the recent trough/low (that came through SoCal this past weekend) passes to the east. Today and Wednesday look for a quick burn-off and max beach temps in the low 70s.

Thursday into the weekend a massive high pressure system moves east from the Pacific over the American West for a warm-up. A low drops from Canada southward across the 4-corners region. If this low were any farther west we'd get a notable Santa Ana, but instead this looks mild as pressure and temperature gradients — while trending north to south (and offshore) — are not all that impressive.

Thursday should see the start of the offshore effect with little to no marine layer and max beach temps in the upper 70s. Friday looks warmer in the low 80s with no marine layer, same goes for Saturday.

Sunday should see the offshore flow diminish as the high breaks down, lowering beaches to 80 max, and then mid 70s Monday.


Wind Outlook
Winds at 7:00 AM were light and variable most everywhere with a light offshore element. Afternoon onshores are expected to reach 9-14 mph. As high pressure builds in for the second half of the week look for light offshores in the AM, and then onshore in the afternoon 8-12 mph. Models show offshore, NNE winds affecting parts of Ventura County, mostly right in Ventura proper, with max winds 15+ mph in the AM, calming in the afternoon (strongest Thursday). Otherwise, all other areas should see mild AM offshores and mild afternoon onshores Thursday through the weekend.


Until my next report (Thursday), take care, be safe, and smile in the lineup!


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