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Forecaster Report

Southern California

Report Date & Time: July 29, 2014 6:30 AM
By forecaster: Nathan Cool
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Surf Synopsis
Today (Tuesday) we have small to moderate southern hemi ground swell in SoCal. Some light swell from Hernan is due today, peaking Wednesday with a slight bump in southern hemi ground swell. Smaller surf is expected during the second half of the week. Southern hemi ground swell is then expected to start filling in Monday the 4th, increasing a bit Tuesday the 5th into Wednesday the 6th. We may also see some activity from the tropics early next week. Condition-wise: only slight day-to-day variations in weather at the coast through the rest of the week with slight cooling this weekend; winds remain moderate through the forecast; the tide is fair for daylight hours; and water temps are fair.

Early this morning periods were primarily running 13 seconds from 185° and 8 seconds from 310°.

Most south facing breaks were running waist high with occasional pluses at standouts. Direct west facing spots were running knee to waist. A slight increase at south facing breaks is expected later this morning from Hernan (more on that below).


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Swell Forecast and Schedule
Buoys right now show mostly diminishing southern hemi ground swell and weak NW wind swell. Outer water buoys show less than 4' of wind swell, and nearshore buoys show combined seas at 1.9-2.2' with southerly swell being nearly all of that (about 1.6-1.9' on the spectrum).

The tide is fair for daylight hours but will run shallow for early AM sessions this week. Today we had a 0.1' low around 5:40 AM, we'll see a 4.3' high around noon, a 2' low around 5:30 PM, and then a 5' high around 11:20 PM.

Water temps were running 69-71° in SD, 67-69° in OC, 69° in LA (although Hermosa recently reported 73°), 66° in VC and 67° in SB.

Swell-wise: There isn't much swell in SoCal early this morning, but we should get a slight increase later this morning from Tropical Storm Hernan. This system remained fairly weak but moved slow enough to stir up some fetch, enough that we should see some drift into SoCal later this morning. The angle on this will be very steep from 165°+, which is a tough angle for most south facing breaks in SoCal. Those spots that can work this (mostly around OC) can expect some sets with 12- to 14-second periods in the chest high range mid to late morning today.

Wednesday the 30th should see the peak swell from Hernan (once again just chest max for the standouts) and also some ground swell from a system off Peru last week, angled from around 170° with 12-second periods and size waist high around south facing breaks in SoCal. Combined with swell from Hernan, south facing breaks, overall, should run waist to chest, but with the best size at breaks able to work a steeper SSE angle.

Size then drops off during the second half of the week. A small yet steady flow of southern hemi energy should keep south facing breaks in knee to waist high waves. No major wind swell has developed, so west facing breaks look smaller.

The next swell on the charts is a southern hemi due late Monday the 4th into Tuesday the 5th, which may increase a bit Wednesday the 6th. This is from what was a small system southeast of New Zealand, but this one has been gaining strength as it moves east across the lower latitudes of the southern hemisphere. The trajectory on this is not favorable for SoCal, with only a fraction of its energy making it our way (from its angular spread). So although 18-second swell would make it to SoCal, it looks like we'll see just knee to waist high waves from 220° Monday the 4th, and then waist high Tuesday the 5th. BUT, with this system increasing as it moves east, as its angle steepens (to around 200° Tuesday into Wednesday the 6th), the strengthening of the fetch could result in size running chest high at south facing breaks Wednesday the 6th. Since we're getting only a glancing blow, sets may be spotty, and rogue waves are more likely. Still, max size, running the numbers this morning, appears to be chest high at south facing breaks Wednesday the 6th.

Monday the 4th into Tuesday the 5th may also see some tropical southerly swell in the mix. The 72h+ models show a bizarre system forming about 800-900 nautical miles to our SSW with 18' seas. Normally we see tropical systems spin off Mexico or Central America, not just pop-up south of our area. It wouldn't be a first, but it is rare. This, according to the long range models today, would add chest high waves to the mix from 185° with 12-second periods. Gotta see how this plays out over the next few days.


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

Wednesday the 30th should run chest max at south facing breaks, knee high at west facing spots.

Thursday the 31st looks about waist high at south facing spots, knee high at west facing breaks.

Friday the 1st looks about knee to waist most everywhere with the best size at south facing spots.

Saturday the 2nd is expected to run knee to waist at south facing spots, knee high at west facing breaks.

Sunday the 3rd looks about knee to waist at south facing spots, knee high at west facing breaks.

Monday the 4th is expected to see SW swell building throughout the day, starting out at knee to waist at south facing spots.

Tuesday the 5th is expected to see at least waist high swell at south facing spots, a bit bigger if the tropical system mentioned above develops.

Wednesday the 6th, so far, is expected to run chest max at south facing spots.

Thursday the 7th, so far, looks similar.


Weather Outlook
In short, at the coast, there'll be very little change through at least the weekend, but with a slight cool-down likely this weekend. The long of it: High pressure remains dominant over the American West stirring in monsoonal moisture to our south (like that from Hernan). High clouds will continue over the area today, then resume again Friday into the weekend as more monsoonal moisture is expected to be drawn into the region then. High pressure is also expected to weaken slightly this weekend as a trough of low pressure pushes every so slightly south from the Gulf of Alaska. Also, if that bizarre tropical development to our SSW does materialize (linked to the potential tropical swell early next week), this low-pressure system could increase an onshore flow in SoCal as well. But I digress...

Today, look for mid morning burn-off with max beach temps in the mid 70s. Wednesday and Thursday should cool a degree or two with burn-offs mid morning. Friday into the weekend look for burn-offs mid to possibly late morning with max beach temps in the low 70s.


Wind Outlook
Winds at 7:00 AM were light and variable most everywhere. Afternoon onshores are expected to reach 9-14 mph. No major change is expected over the next few days.


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


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