SoCal Forecast
Updated most Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays

Tuesday June 22, 2021 6:15 AM
By Nathan Cool


Surf Charts for SoCal

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At a glance:
Today (Tuesday) we have strong southern hemisphere ground swell in SoCal with very little NW wind swell. After this SW swell backs down, minor to moderate southern hemis are due over the weekend into early next week. Light NW swell comes into the mix around that time. Models continue to hint at possible tropical swell around the 1st-2nd, which is also when another round of minor to moderate southerly ground swell is likely. Southern hemisphere ground swell is highly likely for the holiday weekend, but models are split on what exactly to expect. Another sizable southern hemi ground swell is being watched for the 7th. Condition-wise: marine layer thins late in the week with an increase in temps for the weekend; winds follow suit; a tidal swing is underway; water temps are seasonally fair; and advisories are in effect.

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Current Conditions:
Early this morning, periods were primarily running 17 seconds from 195° and 9 seconds from 315°.

Most south facing breaks were running head high with some occasional overhead pluses at standouts. West facing spots were mostly waist to chest high from the wrap, bigger at SW exposed spots.

Buoys in the outer waters off SoCal were running 5'. Nearshore buoys were running 2.5-3.5'.

Tide levels are swinging wide as we approach a Full Moon Thursday the 24th. Today we have a 3.7' high around 9:00 AM, a 1.7' low around 2:00 PM, and a near 7' high around 8:00 PM.

Water temps were running 66-69° in most of SD and OC yesterday. LA was running 65-68° yesterday. VC and SB were 62-63° overnight.

Hazardous Condition Warning: Southerly ground swell has increased the risk of rip currents through Wednesday, especially at south facing spots. The NWS has issued rip current warnings as well. Caution is advised.

Surf Forecast:
Hefty southern hemi is coming to its peak today from that sizable storm that formed near New Zealand/French Polynesia almost two weeks ago (see earlier model here). Wednesday the 23rd should see the tail end of this swell (chest to head high) before backing down to chest max Thursday the 24th.

Smaller southerly ground swell should build Friday the 25th, peaking Saturday the 26th from minor activity that was brewing in the low latitudes (see that model here). This should bring waist to at times chest high waves to south facing breaks by Saturday the 26th (waist high Friday the 25th). Swell should be angled from 195° with periods 16 seconds.

NW swell has been a question mark in the forecast for the end of the week and weekend, but models are now downgrading the idea of wind swell while keeping small NW ground swell on track from this activity in the Gulf (model generated by XyGrib from NFCENS data):

Topping out with seas in the 20' range from about 1,600 nautical miles from SoCal comes out to waist high-ish surf when this peaks Monday the 28th, with some swell building Sunday the 27th. Wind swell looks nil, so west facing breaks will have to settle for this, along with minor southerly wrap.

Tuesday the 29th should see a slight increase in southerly ground swell from a recent system near Pitcairn. This should put south facing breaks in waist to at times chest high waves Tuesday the 29th and Wednesday the 30th, angled from 185-190° with periods 16 seconds. Things then get rather interesting from here.

Taking a step back and looking at our current state of weather affairs on this NOAA satellite image from yesterday we can see a number of features affecting SoCal with a preview into the tropics (image from NOAA GOES):

Right now, a low pressure system (red arrows) is swirling off the California coast, kept at bay by high pressure over much of the U.S. The clash of the two was originally thought to create wind swell, but that's become minor-to-nil as gradients between these two systems is negligible. However, that low is keeping a cool onshore flow in place with morning texture breezes, but that will change later in the week (more on that in the Weather section below). More interestingly though for the forecast is a grip of clouds off Southern Mexico (green arrow) associated with a tropical wave. This has gotten the attention of the NHC (here), and the bullish FNMOC NAV model has upgraded this into a beast of a storm on the long range (model by FNMOC):

All models show something becoming cyclonic, but FNMOC shows this being a massive hurricane. Even so, FNMOC's enthusiastic forecast calls for this to enter the Sea of Cortez vs. a more surf-worthy route on the west side of Baja. This makes sense as cooler water has pooled there, which would force this storm to the east side of Baja, out of our swell window (model by NOAA OSPO):

Best case scenario based on this forecast would be for some kind of SE swell to arrive around the 1st-2nd, but it's a bit of a longshot right now. But, the 1st and 2nd will very likely see at least waist high waves from this New Zealand storm you may recall from my last report (model by FNMOC):

Models have backed off on that, and the backup boost for the 2nd (storm #1 on this earlier model) is only showing up on FNMOC — other models are off-and-on with that with hope fading. Right now, it would be fairly safe to call for waist high waves on the 1st-2nd at south facing breaks with swell angled mostly from 210° with periods 16 seconds. There is a slight chance that the 2nd could see waist to chest high surf based on FNMOC's 72-hour projection, which could now just be an outlier. I'll know more over the next couple of days. But then bigger surf could come ashore.

Saturday the 3rd (building day) into Sunday the 4th (peak day) could see somewhat sizable southern hemi ground swell. The initial swath of swell for the 3rd would be from this storm that most models agree on today (model generated by XyGrib from NFCENS data):

At first, this storm would stay on an easterly course, sending us just chest max swell that'd arrive Saturday the 3rd, angled from around 190-200° with periods 16-18 seconds. But then, about two-thirds of the models this morning show this storm splitting in two, with one leg of it taking an ideal, surf-worthy, northward course, aiming more swell at SoCal:

If that happens, then we're looking at head high sets Sunday the 4th, with swell angled from 180-190°, and periods 16 seconds. It's too early to call, but I'm on it...I'll keep you posted.

Next up is possible SW swell for Wednesday the 7th from this storm that FNMOC feels will form near New Zealand (model by FNMOC):

No other long range model shows such a big storm in that region; but then again, FNMOC proved them wrong on the tropical activity that's forming...so who knows. If FNMOC's NAV model has it right, then we'd be looking at easily head high surf on the 7th, but it's too early to work the numbers right now. I'm on it...stay tuned...

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

Wednesday the 23rd looks about chest to at times head high at south facing spots.

Thursday the 24th looks about chest high at south facing spots.

Friday the 25th also looks about waist high at south facing spots.

Saturday the 26th looks about waist to at times chest high at south facing spots.

Sunday the 27th looks about waist high everywhere.

Monday the 28th looks about waist high everywhere.

Tuesday the 29th is expected to run waist to at times chest high at south facing spots.

Wednesday the 30th looks about waist to at times chest high at south facing spots.

Thursday the 1st, so far, looks about waist high at south facing spots.

Friday the 2nd, so far, holds potential for waist to chest high sets at south facing breaks.

Saturday the 3rd, so far, is expected to run chest high at south facing spots.

Sunday the 4th, so far, holds a chance for head high surf at south facing breaks, but this is where models are highly conflicted this morning, with some calling for chest max.

Monday the 5th, so far, same deal.

Tuesday the 6th would likely see southern hemi back off to chest max.

Wednesday the 7th could see our next southern hemi ground swell. More on that in my next report.

 

Weather Outlook:
A trough of low pressure remains just off the coast through Thursday, keeping a robust onshore flow in place today through Thursday with AM marine layer, late burn-offs and max beach temps in the upper 60s to maybe low 70s at the warmest spots. Friday into the weekend should see low pressure weaken in that trough, and eventually, over the weekend, that trough should dissipate. Either way this should lead to less AM marine layer with earlier burn-offs going into the weekend with beach max temps around 70° Friday, and then low to mid 70s over the weekend. In fact, Sunday could warm further, and be clearer...according to some models today.

Wind Outlook:
Winds at 6:00 AM were light and variable most everywhere with an onshore element. Afternoon onshores are expected to reach 15 mph, stronger at times from LA north. No major change is expected through Thursday. Friday into the weekend should see AM light and variables with less onshore effect, and afternoon onshores 10-15 mph.

 

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

—Nathan

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