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Forecaster Report

Southern California

Report Date & Time: October 30, 2014 7:10 AM
By forecaster: Nathan Cool
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Surf Synopsis
Today (Thursday) we have moderate NW ground swell and background southern hemi in SoCal. NW ground swell builds Saturday the 1st, peaking Sunday the 2nd. Smaller NW swell lingers into early next week. The potential for hurricane swell has been downgraded. Smaller surf is on tap for the 2nd half of next week, and then we may hit a lull until around the 10th of November. Condition-wise: storm approaches the area shortly with rain in the forecast; winds trend onshore, stronger this weekend, but then recuperating next week; the tide is at fair levels now but swings very wide next week; and water temps remain above normal for this time of year.

Early this morning, periods were primarily running 11 seconds from 305° and 13 seconds from 200°.

Most west facing breaks were running waist to chest. Direct south facing spots were running knee to waist high.


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Swell Forecast and Schedule
Buoys north of SoCal show a drop but staying steady at around 7', even as far south as Pt. Conception. San Nicolas Island though is down to about 5', and the swell angle remains steep at over 300°, so most of the incoming NW swell today is staying west of the islands. Nearshore buoys around SoCal show combined seas around 2.0-2.5' with southerly swell being up to 1.5' of that.

The tide is fair now but will swing very wide next week as we approach a Full Moon Thursday the 6th. Today we have a 3' low around 9:00 AM, a 4.7' high around 2:45 PM, and then a 0.5' low around 10:30 PM.

Water temps were running 68-70 in most of SoCal, a good 5° warmer than normal for this time of year.

Swell-wise: Today we're seeing NW energy from a recent system that drifted across the mid-Gulf latitudes a few days ago. This swell will linger Friday, along the the background southern hemi. The weekend is when size will increase.

It looks like we're on track for NW swell building Saturday the 1st, peaking Sunday the 2nd, but with conditions questionable. As you may recall from earlier reports, this is from a system breaking off the Aleutians that today is holding 25'+ seas about 1400 nautical miles to the northwest of SoCal. This system is expected to dive southeast in the jetstream toward the California coast — farther south than models predicted a few days ago. So while seas are now lower (25' compared to 30'), the more southward placement of this system means a good deal of swell for California. This also though means weather and winds will be affected due to this system's proximity to our area.

Running the numbers this morning, size works out to head high to 2' overhead at west facing breaks in SoCal, angled from 295° with 14-second periods. ETA is pre-dawn to early morning in SB/VC on Saturday the 1st, early morning in LA, and then early to mid morning in OC and SD. As this swell fills in sets could be spotty, with the major swell impact occurring by mid to late morning. Onshore winds are likely to pick up by mid morning, and there are rain chances in the forecast (see weather section below for more on that).

Sunday the 2nd is looking like the peak of this swell, running head high to possibly 2' overhead at times at west facing breaks in SoCal. The peak of the swell-event though may happen in the pre-dawn hours, leaving early to mid AM sessions Sunday in head high max surf (dawn patrol would fare better for size). Note that Sunday has a fairly deep high tide around dawn, and we won't have any tidal push to help out size as the tide recedes throughout the morning (although intensifying rip current risk). Conditions look cleaner Sunday the 2nd, although any measurable rain could increase the risk of bacteria in the surf-zone from run-off. This swell should then linger to a lesser degree Monday the 3rd.

Tuesday the 4th should see a swath of Aleutian-based NW swing through SoCal, enough to keep west facing breaks in at least waist high surf. The Aleutian system forecast to produce this swell would throw better size our way, but it is expected, so far, to stay at far northerly latitudes, hugging the Gulf's coastline (far about 50N latitude), resulting in very steep angled surf, about 310-320° for SoCal.

The potential for hurricane swell for early next week has been dropped from the forecast. This would have been from TD-21E in the tropical Pacific, but models show this one not being nearly as strong as models originally forecast. Still, the 108h models show this becoming at least a CAT-1 storm. And since we're still in the heart of hurricane season (which doesn't end until Nov. 30), and given that this has been the most active season since 1992, TD-21E will need to be monitored closely over the next few days. As it stands right now, TD-21E would only briefly enter our swell window, and not be strong enough to throw substantial swell our way...but it's too early to say for sure right now.

After that, it looks like we'll hit a lull. Light southern hemi is due by Thursday the 6th from a Tasman Sea system, and minor NW should linger from light actvity around the Gulf/Aleutians. In all though, it looks like the second half of next week (and the weekend of the 8th-9th) will be on the small side.

Extended long range models (144h+) show the next NW swell to be around the 10th, also from an Aleutian-based system. It's too early to make that call today, but I'll stay on top of it and keep you posted.


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

Friday the 31st looks about waist high most everywhere with possibly better size at west facing breaks.

Saturday the 1st is expected to see NW swell fill in from north to south, peaking at head high to possibly 2' overhead when it does. ETA is currently for pre-dawn to early morning in SB/VC, early to mid morning in LA, and the mid to late morning in OC and SD.

Sunday the 2nd is expected to run head high to 2' overhead at west facing breaks for the dawn patrols, but backing off by mid morning.

Monday the 3rd is expected to run chest high at west facing breaks.

Tuesday the 4th is expected to run waist to chest at west facing breaks. Hurricane swell is less likely now, but still being monitored.

Wednesday the 5th looks about waist high at west facing breaks.

Thursday the 6th is expected to run waist high everywhere.

Friday the 7th, so far, looks about knee to waist everywhere.

Saturday the 8th, so far, looks about knee to waist everywhere.

Sunday the 9th also looks about knee to waist so far.

Monday the 10th is looking like our next shot at NW swell in SoCal...more on that in my next report...


Weather Outlook
High pressure is breaking down over the region as a trough of low pressure pushes south. The low pressure system associated with the weekend swell is housed in that trough and will get close enough to our area to bring rain to SoCal. As is often the case, only the tail end of the weather front will brush SoCal, so we're not looking at as much rain as points north. Still, rain is on the way, along with cooler weather.

After a decently timed burn-off today, beaches should reach 70, but then high 60s Friday. Rain is expected to move through the area sometime Friday evening, with the heaviest rain likely overnight. While CCal could see up to an inch of rain, SoCal is looking at total accumulation of around 1/4" max near the coast. Rain should taper off Saturday with cloudy skies and high temps at the beaches in the mid to maybe upper 60s. Sunday should still run cool but dry with far fewer clouds. A high pressure ridge then moves in Monday to warm beaches to around 70, with warming to continue through Wednesday.


Wind Outlook
Winds at 6:00 AM were light and variable most everywhere. Afternoon onshores are expected to reach 8-12 mph. Friday looks similar. Saturday is looking at onshores picking up early, reaching 15-20 mph by late morning. Sunday is looking at light to calm winds in the early AM with afternoon onshores 8-12 mph. Monday could be even milder.


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


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