Updated most Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays
Tuesday Nov. 28, 2023 6:00 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 28th) we have fading NW ground swell in SoCal. Shorter-period NW ground swell builds Wednesday the 29th into Thursday the 30th, followed by NW wind swell Friday the 1st. Decent sized NW ground swell is becoming likely for early next week. And a trio of NW swells is being watched for Thursday the 7th. Condition-wise: Santa Ana ends today before rain comes into the picture, focused mostly to the south; the tide is still swinging wide; and water temps have cooled slightly.
Early this morning, periods were primarily running 14 seconds from 300°.
Most west facing breaks were running chest high with occasional pluses at standouts. Direct south facing breaks were mostly waist to at times chest high.
Buoys in the outer waters were running 6'. Nearshore buoys were running 1.5-2.9'.
Tide levels are swinging wide from Monday's Full Moon. Today we have a near 7' high around 9:00 AM, which will slow down many spots, especially the reefs and points. We also have a shallow, -1' low around 4:30 PM, and then a moderate 3.6' high around 11:00 PM.
Water temps were fair but dropped slightly over the past couple days, running 61-63° around most of SD, OC and LA yesterday. In VC, Channel Islands Harbor reported 61° last night. SB Harbor reported 60° this morning.
Today (Tuesday the 28th) the recent NW swell continues to fade from the second of the two back-to-back storms that formed last week in the Western Pacific. This should drop further Wednesday the 29th to chest max at west facing breaks, but we will see moderate, shorter-period NW ground swell build Wednesday the 29th into Thursday the 30th from this fetch forming less than 1,000 nautical miles from SoCal (model generated by XyGrib from NFCENS data):
That's tied to rain — albeit light — coming in Wednesday through Friday, which I'll get to in the Weather section below. As for swell, models downgraded this one from 20' to 15' seas yesterday, with subsequently shorter periods in the 10- to 12-second range. This delays its arrival slightly with swell building during the day Wednesday the 29th, peaking Thursday the 30th with chest max sets at west facing breaks, angled from 295°. As this swell lingers Friday the 1st, we should also see NW wind swell come into the mix from winds kicked up by that low after it makes landfall in NorCal. Size at west facing breaks should still run about chest high or so Friday the 1st, but with periods shorter in the 8-second range. All of this should back off to waist to chest at west facing breaks Saturday the 2nd.
Sunday the 3rd was originally looking like a small surf day in SoCal, but models are converging on these two, back-to-back, high latitude storms that would start to fill in Sunday the 3rd, peaking by Tuesday the 5th (model by FNMOC):
Storm #1 is favored on some models to maintain strength in the Gulf of Alaska in a few days with 35' seas, but angled steep from SoCal. That would result in swell at west facing breaks by Monday the 4th running chest to head high, but angled from 320°, making it tough for some west facing breaks to pull in. Storm #2 though, in 48 hours from now, should peak with 35' seas from just south of the Aleutians, resulting in head high sets for west facing breaks Tuesday the 5th, angled from 310°. Periods from both swells should run 16 seconds. This is a slight departure from model runs a couple days ago that were calling for those swells to both arrive on the 5th, but this isn't that far off from earlier projections and many models are showing consensus. Confidence is high right now, and I'll put a bow on it for my Thursday report.
Thursday the 7th remains on track to see some form of NW ground swell. Today's long range models (most, anyway) are aligned on two storms, the first of which would be this Aleutian storm on the 5-day outlook (model by FNMOC):
That would produce chest+ sets at west facing breaks, angled from 300° with periods 16 seconds. But, that could get overshadowed by the second swell, arriving also Thursday the 7th from this closer storm on the 8-day outlook (model by FNMOC):
That holds potential for surf running 1-3' overhead at west facing breaks Thursday the 7th, angled from 290° with periods 16 seconds. Its proximity though signals potential weather, and sure enough, some of the 300-hour models show rain Thursday the 7th as that storm takes a swipe at SoCal. Either way, this could introduce a fair amount of wind swell for Thursday the 7th, making this a swell-trio of two NW ground swells accompanied by NW wind swell. I'll need to see how models deal with this over the next few days.
Monday the 11th is the next swell on the charts, but it might not be pretty. The long range, 300-hour GFS model shows a sharp trough of low pressure diving through SoCal to whip up intense wind swell along the coast. It's hard to place confidence on such a long range projection, but I added it to my charts this morning, I'll keep a close watch, and with your support I'll be able to keep you posted.
Here's how the day-to-day is breaking down so far:
Wednesday the 29th looks about chest high at west facing breaks.
Thursday the 30th looks about chest high at west facing breaks.
Friday the 1st looks about chest high at west facing breaks but with mostly wind swell.
Saturday the 2nd should run waist to at times chest high at west facing breaks.
Sunday the 3rd, so far, is expected to see NW ground swell build during the day.
Monday the 4th, so far, looks about chest to head high at west facing breaks.
Tuesday the 5th, so far, holds potential for head high swell at west facing breaks.
Wednesday the 6th, so far, looks about chest to head high at west facing breaks.
Thursday the 7th, so far, holds potential for swell running 1-3' overhead at west facing breaks, but models are not completely aligned on this, and this could be accompanied by rain. I'll have more in my next report.
Today (Tuesday the 28th) the Santa Ana is coming to its end. Offshore gradients were still moderate this morning (almost 4mb on a scale of 1-10), but high pressure is weakening and a trough of low pressure is pushing south. This should make for a mostly sunny day today with beach max temps in the mid to upper 60s.
Wednesday the 29th through Friday the 1st should see light rain in SoCal as a trough of low pressure dips south to SoCal and a couple of lows pass in it. Models have placed the focus of the rain across SD where 0.25" is possible; however, most models show 0.1" max (the EC model is the most bullish with 0.25" in SD, which may be overdone). Either way, some parts of the SoCal coast (mostly north of OC) may not receive much if any precip, with just periodic showers and high clouds Wednesday through Friday: OC may see total accumulations of just trace to 0.1"; LA and VC may see nada to trace; and SB could see trace to 0.1". Rain would likely start in the afternoon Wednesday and end by the afternoon Friday. Thursday could in fact be completely dry for most of the day, even in SD where this rain event is focused. All the while, there should be a good amount of cloud cover and max beach temps in the low 60s Wednesday through Friday.
Saturday the 2nd looks like a transition day with mostly clear skies and max beach temps in the low 60s.
Sunday the 3rd into Monday the 4th should see high pressure build into the American West, creating a mild Santa Ana with warming into the mid 60s along the coast. Most models keep offshore gradients below 4mb (on a scale of 1-10) with the offshore event peaking Tuesday the 5th. At that end of the Santa Ana spectrum, beaches could warm to near 70° by Tuesday the 5th.
Thursday the 7th holds a chance of rain in SoCal as a low — kicking up one of the ground swells for the 7th — moves to the west coast and then dives south into SoCal. One has to put their faith in the 300-hour models to make that call, but it earned a yellow pin in my charts for now and I'll see how it goes.
Winds at 6:00 AM were light and variable most everywhere with a slight offshore element. Offshores may increase a bit further this morning to 8-12 mph at the wind-prone spots, but then all areas should see onshores this afternoon to 5-10 mph.
Wednesday the 29th should see AM light and variables with onshores picking up late morning, reaching 15 mph in the afternoon, with higher gusts at times in the afternoon from LA north.
Thursday the 30th should see AM light and variables with afternoon onshores to 15 mph.
Friday the 1st will likely see onshore winds pick up early and reach 15 mph by midmorning, lasting through most of the day.
Saturday the 2nd should see calmer winds with a slight offshore element ahead of a moderate Santa Ana starting Sunday the 3rd...more on that in my next report.
Until my next report (Thursday), take care, be safe, and smile in the lineup!