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Forecaster Report

Southern California

Report Date & Time: August 31, 2014 7:20 AM
By forecaster: Nathan Cool
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Surf Synopsis
Today (Sunday) we have a small to moderate mix of SW ground swell and NW wind swell in SoCal. Swell backs off over the next few days, but we should see southern hemi swell start to build Friday the 5th, peaking Saturday the 6th. Long range models hint at possibly some hurricane swell coming into the mix Sunday the 7th. And medium range models show potential for southern hemi swell on the 10th. Condition-wise: onshore flow strengthens a bit over the next few days; winds are fair this week but a coastal eddy could have some effect; high tides run deep this week; and water temps remain fair.

Early this morning periods were primarily running 15 seconds from 195° and 7 seconds from 315°.

Most south facing spots were running chest high. West facing spots were running waist to chest.

Note that even though surf has subsided since last week, the NWS has issued a beach hazard statement in effect through Monday.


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Swell Forecast and Schedule
Buoys show wind swell in the outer waters has increased to 6-7', but angled at 315° most of this is staying west of the islands. Nearshore buoys around SoCal showed combined seas at 2.5-3.0' with southerly swell being a little over half of that.

High tide runs deep in the afternoon this week. Today we had a 2' low around 6:45 AM, we'll see a 4.8' high around 1:30 PM, and a 1.5' low around 8:45 PM.

Water temps were running 71-73 in SD, 66-69 in OC, 67-72 in LA, 68 in VC, and 66 in SB.

Swell-wise: Today we're seeing mostly SW swell from New Zealand activity that formed about ten days ago, as well as localized NW wind swell off the Central Coast and some activity in the Gulf. Marie's swell is all but gone, but some short southerly periods are on the spectrum this morning.

Monday the 1st should still see both the New Zealand southern hemi ground swell and localized NW wind swell. This though will fade Tuesday the 2nd, more so Wednesday the 3rd.

Thursday the 4th is a turnaround day as southern hemi swell slowly starts to build into SoCal. As you may recall from my reports last week, two systems breaking off Antarctica south of French Polynesia are sending swell our way. The first one has somewhat shorter periods than the second, so both should arrive about the same time (longer periods = faster waves). It looks like Thursday the 4th will see just intermittent forerunners, about chest high or so, coming in from around 200° with 18- and 21-second periods.

Friday the 5th should see better consistency as both French Poly systems fill in better. Sets should run chest to head high with occasional overhead pluses at standouts. Being a mixed swell, the size consistency between sets will likely vary with some sets having just chest high waves, but then some sets being all head high or better. Swell remains angled at around 200°, and with periods 16 and 18 seconds.

Saturday the 6th should then see the peak of this swell event with sets running head high at south facing spots with over pluses at times at standouts.

Sunday the 7th should see somewhat shorter periods (14 and 16 seconds), with size still running chest to head high at south facing spots.

The long range models also show potential for another hurricane to spin up near Baja that could bring some SE swell into the mix around Sunday the 7th. This, according to the 120h+ models, is looking like a fairly strong storm, but not the size of Marie. Either way, it's too early to call that one today.

The next swell on the charts is a French Poly system on the medium range (60h) models. This one, so far, is looking about chest high, angled from around 200° with 16-second periods. Need to see how this one plays out over the next couple days.


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

Monday the 1st should run waist to chest at south facing spots, waist to chest high at west facing breaks.

Tuesday the 2nd is expected to run waist high most everywhere.

Wednesday the 3rd is expected to run waist high at south facing spots, knee high at west facing breaks.

Thursday the 4th should see intermittent southern hemi ground swell forerunners, but average sets should run waist to chest at south facing spots, knee to waist at west facing breaks.

Friday the 5th should see chest to head high southern hemi fill in to south facing breaks, with better consistency later in the day. Note that there will be an very deep high tide early evening which could slow down many spots.

Saturday the 6th should see head high sets at south facing spots with pluses running a foot or so overhead.

Sunday the 7th is expected to run chest to head high at south facing spots. There are hints on the models for hurricane swell as well, but that is too early to call today.

Monday the 8th, so far, is expected to run chest high at south facing spots.

Tuesday the 9th, so far, is expected to run waist to chest max at south facing spots.

Wednesday the 10th, so far, is expected to run chest high at south facing spots.


Weather Outlook
Onshore flow strengthens through mid week as a trough bears down on the region and a low passes from the west Tuesday. Today, after a mid-morning burn-off, beaches should reach the low 70s. The onshore flow kicks into high gear Monday as a stronger coastal eddy spins up as well, making for a late burn-off and max beach temps around 70. Same goes for Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday, so far, look similar. Models then diverge for the end of the week with some showing slight warming from expanding high pressure into SoCal, while others show an even stronger onshore flow as a trough of low pressure digs south into our area. Hopefully models can settle on a single scenario over the next couple days.


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 for the rest of the week, although we are likely to see some southerly eddy texture Monday and Tuesday mornings.


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


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