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Forecaster Report

Southern California

Report Date & Time: September 14, 2014 6:15 AM
By forecaster: Nathan Cool
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Surf Synopsis
Today (Sunday) is a small day for surf in SoCal. Southern hemi builds Monday into Tuesday. SE swell from Odile is then due to build Tuesday into Wednesday. Thursday the 18th, as SE swell remains, light NW should come into the background, although a better sized NW swell is being tracked for the 21st-22nd. Condition-wise: heatwave dwindles during the second half of the week although precip chances are in the forecast; winds remain fair through the forecast; the tide relaxes a bit over the next couple days; and water temps are fair.

Early this morning periods were primarily running 11 seconds from 190° and 10 seconds from 265°.

Most all breaks were running knee to waist high.


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Swell Forecast and Schedule
Buoys near the SoCal coast show 3' seas, but with periods so short the energy is weak and not breaking much bigger.

High tide runs deep today but will relax a bit over the next couple days. Today we have a 2.3' low around 7:30 AM, a 5.1' high around 2:00 PM, and then a 1' low around 9:30 PM.

Water temps were running 68-72 in SD, 69-72 in OC, 70-74 in LA, 69 in VC, and 68 in SB.

Swell-wise: While there isn't much in the way of waves in SoCal today, this should be the smallest day of the week.

Monday the 15th (building day) into Tuesday the 16th (peak day) we should see long period swell from New Zealand activity that peaked about 10 days ago. We're only getting a glancing blow from this system with swell angled from 210° with 18- to 20-second periods and size maxing out around chest high at south facing breaks in SoCal when this swell peaks Tuesday the 16th (Monday starts out smaller).

Tuesday the 16th, when the New Zealand swell peaks, we should also see swell build from Odile. While Odile is a category 4 storm — expected to blow 150 mph winds in the next 12 hours near the coast of Cabo — and while it is expected to take the northerly Baja route toward SoCal like Norbert and Marie did, we may only see moderate surf out of this system. Models are all over the place with this storm with the National Hurricane Center being rather robust, but many weather and wave models backing off over the last 12 hours. What we do know is that swell from around 165-170° is due in SoCal late Tuesday the 16th peaking Wednesday the 17th with periods around 12-14 seconds. Size though is what matters in this case, which hinges on how close to Baja this system stays.

According to the models last week (and even last night) we were looking at surf nearing DOH by Wednesday, but this morning's models show a now close-to-Baja scenario, resulting in less fetch with size reaching head high max in SoCal, which is what I'm calling for today. Bear in mind also that 165° is a tough angle for SoCal, and when Odile peaks with the 150 mph winds expected in the next 12 hours, this storm's position would be angled on a steep SE swell course for SoCal (another reason I'm dropping the call to head high max in SoCal). The proximity of such a storm though only provides a 12-24 hour confirmation window, so it is (frustratingly) too early to call with near-certainty today.

As Odile's swell lingers Thursday the 18th we should also see light NW ground swell from some activity spinning off the Aleutians this morning. This isn't much, about waist high for west facing breaks, but more activity is starting to spin up in this region, signaling the change in season is upon us once again; in fact...

Sunday the 21st into Monday the 22nd we could see moderate NW ground swell from what the 72h models say will be a fairly sizable system coming out of the western Pacific, gaining strength south of the Aleutians, and heading into the Gulf (typical of a wintertime storm). This, so far, looks like a chest high swell for SoCal, angled from 305° with 14-second periods. It's too early to make that call today, but I'll stay on top of it and keep you posted.

Lastly, the potential for hurricane swell on the 21st has been dropped from the charts. Models are now downgrading the the next hurricane to follow Odile, with the next tropical storm being weaker...by the looks of things today.


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

Monday the 15th should see spotty SW swell fill in throughout the day with peak sets up to chest high at times, but average waist high.

Tuesday the 16th is expected to run chest high at south facing spots early. Swell from Odile should fill in throughout the day with top spots (that can work a SE swell) seeing some head high sets out of this.

Wednesday the 17th, so far, is looking at the peak of Odile. According to the models today, we should see chest to head high surf at most south facing breaks with some overhead pluses at times at standouts mostly in OC.

Thursday the 18th is expected to run chest to head high at south facing breaks with swell dropping off by late morning. West facing breaks should see light NW ground swell in the waist high range (bigger at SW exposed spots pulling in some Odile energy).

Friday the 19th is expected to see swell back off from Odile as light NW ground swell lingers. Most all breaks are looking at waist high waves, chest high at times at standout south facing spots.

Saturday the 20th looks like a knee to waist high most everywhere.

Sunday the 21st into Monday the 22nd could see NW swell build into SoCal. So far, Wednesday would see waist high waves early at west facing breaks, building later in the day.

Monday the 22nd, so far, is looking at chest high waves at west facing breaks, knee to waist at south facing spots.


Weather Outlook
High pressure over the region keeps the heat pump crankin' through Tuesday with beach highs around 80°. However, this kind of heat-waves tends to induce a thermal inversion, so marine layer can be thick for the early AM hours at the coast, though burn-off should be timely. We also have a slight offshore effect from the high, so afternoon cooling will tend to be a tad later (as seabreeze gets delayed).

Wednesday is when we'll see change. The high breaks down as a trough of low pressure pushes south, but then we also have Odile heading toward our area. The trough and Odile are battling it out on the models: if the trough wins, we'll see cooling from an increased onshore flow as Odile gets pushed over Baja before nearing our border; if Odile triumphs, then we could see rain by Thursday as Odile continues to march north; if both titans clash, then we're in for humid yet slightly cooler weather during the second half of the week. Gotta wait and see how things unfold over the next 48 hours.


Wind Outlook
Winds at 7:00 AM were light and variable most everywhere. Afternoon onshores are expected to reach 9-14 mph, with onshores picking up later (well after noon versus the usual by-noon). No major change is expected through Tuesday. Wednesday should then see afternoon onshores pick up by noon (still 9-14 mph).


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


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