Updated most Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays
Tuesday Feb. 7, 2023 6:10 AM
By Nathan Cool
Surf Charts for SoCalRincon | Ventura, C-St. | County Line | Malibu | Hermosa | Huntington Beach
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At a glance:
Today (Tuesday the 7th) we have a good amount of NW swell in SoCal with wind swell fading and ground swell becoming dominant. A moderate NW ground swell is due Thursday the 9th. A sizable NW combo swell is due this weekend (11th-12th). Initially moderate NW ground swell is due early next week, followed by what could become quite sizable NW wind swell. NW ground swell is also being tracked for the 17th-18th. Condition-wise: warm-up with offshore winds over the next few days; precip hard to come by but still in the forecast; tide levels recuperate over the next few days; and water temps are down in some spots.
Early this morning, periods were primarily running 13 seconds from 300°.
Most west facing breaks were running chest high with head high pluses at standouts. Direct south facing spots were running waist to chest.
Buoys in the outer waters off SoCal were running 8-11'. Nearshore buoys were mostly 2.2-3.8'.
Tide levels will recuperate over the next few days as we pull away from the recent Full Moon. Today we have a 1.7' low around 4:00 AM, a 5.4' high around 10:00 AM, a -0.5' low around 5:00 PM, and a 4' high around 11:00 PM.
Water temps were mostly 55-57° around SD and OC yesterday, but Mission Beach has been reporting 54° and San Clemente has been jostling between 54-57°. In LA, most spots were running 55-57°. In VC, Channel Islands Harbor reported 56° overnight. SB Harbor has been running 55°.
Today we're seeing the tail end of NW swell kicked up from a system that trekked through the Gulf of Alaska (sending us ground swell) before sliding south along the west coast to generate wind swell (see earlier model here). Wind swell from its west coast dive is all but gone while ground swell from its Gulf origins remains in SoCal today. This will fade Wednesday the 8th to about chest max at west facing spots.
Thursday the 9th should see moderate NW ground swell from this Aleutian system that was downgraded on the models a couple days ago (model by FNMOC):
This was originally forecast to maintain 30' seas from this position (it didn't) and then kick up wind swell fetch off SoCal by Thursday (which it won't). Instead, this is a meager, spotty swell with chest max sets for west facing breaks Thursday the 9th with swell angled from 300° and periods 14 seconds.
Saturday the 11th into Sunday the 12th we're looking at a NW swell combo with ground swell arriving first on Saturday from this system that should peak tomorrow between Hawaii and the Aleutians (model generated by XyGrib from NFCENS data):
Short range models agree on 25-30' seas as this system progresses a bit farther east, getting within 1,400 nautical miles from SoCal. Given its distance and course over the next couple days, this should send swell in the head high+ range for west facing breaks Saturday, angled from 295° and periods 14 seconds. But after trekking into higher latitudes, the low associated with that fetch should drop south to SoCal along the west coast in a mostly dry trough (red circle), which puts wind swell into the mix when it does (model by NOAA MAG):
This is out on medium range models, but there's enough agreement on strong NW winds Saturday afternoon/evening to kick up wind swell fetch peaking Saturday night into Sunday morning to equal the ground swell's size: head high+ at west facing breaks. Wind swell will likely reach SB earlier, sometime Saturday midmorning, then progress south throughout the day Saturday. After both swells peak early Sunday morning, size should back down to around chest high Monday the 13th; however, that's when our next NW swell is likely to come ashore.
Monday the 13th could see moderate NW ground swell precede NW wind swell Tuesday the 14th into Wednesday the 15th as this Aleutian-bound system swirls south along the west coast after peaking in high Gulf latitudes (model by FNMOC):
Ground swell from its position south of the Aleutians would send initial chest high ground swell to west facing breaks Monday the 13th (building day) into Tuesday the 14th, angled from 310° and periods 16 seconds. But then wind swell would get kicked up as that low descends in a hefty trough through SoCal (model by NOAA MAG):
Wind swell could produce sets running 1-3' overhead at west facing breaks, angled from the wind-swell-usual 300°+ with periods 10 seconds. This is further out on the long range so I'll need a few more days to see how this unfolds.
Friday the 17th into Saturday the 18th is the ETA for our next NW swell, but models are quite conflicted on this system on the 160-hour-plus projection (model by FNMOC):
That FNMOC WW3 model is the most bullish of the bunch this morning with NFCENS and GFS showing something smaller. Best case, this holds potential for sets running 1-2' overhead at west facing breaks. Worst case we'd be looking at chest max surf. I'll need a few days to see how models align, but I'll stay on top of it and with your continued support I'll keep you posted.
Here's how the day-to-day is breaking down so far:
Tuesday the 7th is looking at NW wind swell backing off as moderate NW ground swell remains, leaving mostly chest high sets at west facing breaks with improving conditions.
Wednesday the 8th looks about chest high at west facing breaks.
Thursday the 9th is expected to run chest high at west facing breaks.
Friday the 10th is expected to run chest max at west facing breaks.
Saturday the 11th is expected to run head high+ at west facing breaks from ground swell. Wind swell should build from north to south during the day.
Sunday the 12th is expected to run head high+ at west facing spots.
Monday the 13th is expected to run chest high at west facing breaks.
Tuesday the 14th, so far, is expected to run 1-3' overhead at west facing breaks as wind swell builds.
Wednesday the 15th, so far, is expected to run 1-3' overhead at west facing breaks.
Thursday the 16th, so far, looks about head high at west facing breaks.
Friday the 17th into Saturday the 18th could see the next NW ground swell in SoCal...more on that in my next report.
A moderate Santa Ana develops today, weakening Wednesday before another moderate Santa Ana develops Thursday thanks to a couple high pressure ridges building into the region. This should warm beach max temps each day through Thursday with mid to upper 60s today at the beaches, upper 60s Wednesday, and then low 70s Thursday.
Friday should see high pressure move east as a trough of low pressure approaches the west coast. Some high clouds should drift overhead, but mostly sunny skies should prevail with beach max temps near 70°.
Saturday into Sunday sees a mostly dry low pass through SoCal, which could bring light precip to the beaches. Amounts look light, and many spots may not see any precip at all. Instead, Saturday and Sunday should just see some passing clouds interspersed with periods of abundant sunshine, but with cooler temps topping out in the low 60s Saturday and Sunday. Note that some models have the trough passing more quickly on Saturday, followed by a Santa Ana on Sunday...I'll need to see how models deal with that over the next 48 hours.
Models continue to show some kind of precip Tuesday the 14th and Wednesday the 15th, but models across the board keep rain to a minimum, likely 0.1" max at the coast (if that). Most models also agree that we'd see a Santa Ana in the wake of the passing storm, kicking up offshore winds Thursday the 16th.
Winds at 6:00 AM were offshore in most spots 5-10 mph. Offshores should peak mid to late morning, possibly up to 15 mph at the wind-prone spots around VC, but 10 mph elsewhere. Winds should turn lightly onshore by the afternoon and run 10 mph or so this afternoon.
Wednesday should see light AM offshores 5-10 mph and afternoon onshores 8-12 mph.
Thursday should see a bit more offshore push with early AM offshores 5-10 mph, picking up 10-15 mph midmorning at the wind-prone spots, and 5-10 mph elsewhere. Winds should calm and/or shift lightly onshore Thursday afternoon.
Friday will likely see light to moderate AM offshores, shifting onshore in the afternoon. This would lead to stronger winds over the weekend...more on that in my next report.
Until my next report (Thursday), take care, be safe, and smile in the lineup!