SoCal Forecast
Updated most Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays

Tuesday Sep. 27, 2022 6:30 AM
By Nathan Cool

Surf Charts for SoCal

Rincon | Ventura, C-St. | County Line | Malibu | Hermosa | Huntington Beach
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At a glance:
Today (Tuesday) we have a light to moderate mix of SW ground swell and NW wind swell in SoCal. NW picks up over the next few days. Moderate SW ground swell is due a week from today. NW ground swell is possible later next week. And a few southern hemi swells are being watched for the 6th, 9th, and 10th. Condition-wise: weather cools for the second half of the week; winds remain moderate; the tide is still swinging wide; and water temps are fair.

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Current Conditions:
Early this morning, periods were primarily running 16 seconds from 205° and 11 seconds from 315°.

Most south facing breaks were running waist to at times chest high on the sets. West facing breaks were mostly waist max.

Buoys in the outer waters off SoCal were running 6-8'. Nearshore buoys were running 2.3-3.5' with wind swell being about half of that.

Tide levels are still swinging wide from Sunday's New Moon. Today we have a 0.8' low around 4:30 AM, a near 6' high around 10:30 AM, a 0.5' low around 5:00 PM, and a near 5' high around 11:00 PM.

Water temps were running 70-72° around much of SD yesterday, although Mission Beach reported 66°. OC was running 67-69°. LA was running 67-70° in many spots, but the usually-cooler Cabrillo reported 62°. In VC, Channel Islands Harbor has been running 67°. SB was running 67°.

Surf Forecast:
Southern hemisphere ground swell continues today from that storm that peaked near New Zealand about two weeks ago (see earlier model here). This swell will linger Wednesday the 28th before slowly dropping off Thursday the 29th and Friday the 30th (waist max both days).

NW wind swell is on the rise and will build Wednesday the 28th through Friday the 30th as a trough of low pressure passes to the north of SoCal, and minor activity in the Gulf of Alaska sends short-period swell to the west coast. This should bring waist to chest high waves to west facing breaks, angled from 300°+ and periods topping out at 10 seconds.

Saturday the 1st through Monday the 3rd looks smaller. Southern hemi will have faded by then, and NW wind swell should drop Saturday the 1st as well.

Tuesday the 4th should see light to moderate SW ground swell from this system that recently broke off Antarctica south of French Polynesia (model by FNMOC):

This should bring chest max waves to south facing breaks Tuesday the 4th and Wednesday the 5th, with swell angled from 195° and periods 14-16 seconds. This swell should back down Thursday the 6th.

Beyond Wednesday the 5th is where models go their separate ways on the next four swells on the charts, but I'll start at the top and work my way forward.

Wednesday the 5th into Thursday the 6th could see NW ground swell from this system near the Aleutians (model by FNMOC):

Variations of it and the smaller storm to its southeast have been teasing the models for days. As of this morning, FNMOC's NAV is the only model holding onto the idea of at least 25' seas in that position near the Aleutians, which, as that storm moves southeast into the Gulf of Alaska, would send SoCal's west facing breaks waist to chest high waves, angled from 305° with periods 14-16 seconds. Statistically, this is in the 30% chance category, and there's been no solid consensus on this for days. It's on the 120-hour-plus models so I'll see how it plays out.

Thursday the 6th will likely see some SE ground swell in the mix from this large storm diving south near Chile (model by FNMOC):

Diving south means we'll get the barest of glancing blows with an extremely high degree of angular spreading decay. At best, spotty, intermittent waist high-ish waves from 165° would make it ashore Thursday the 6th, which is also when the F-Poly swell (for the 4th-5th) would be backing down, likely leaving this Chilean swell barely noticeable. Either way, this and the F-Poly should back down Friday the 7th into Saturday the 8th.

Sunday the 9th could see SE swell from this storm near Easter Island (model by FNMOC):

That's a rather new development, yet more than one model today agrees with that scenario, putting this in the 50% category. It's a small storm but it would drift into rather high latitudes for a southern hemi, so it could send chest high surf to south facing breaks that can work a steep, 165-170° swell angle. Periods would run 14-16 seconds. This is also on the long range and needs more monitoring.

Monday the 10th could see SW ground swell fill into SoCal from this storm south of New Zealand (model by FNMOC):

On the right we can see remnants of the Chilean storm, but this one near New Zealand, even being out on just 48-hour-plus models, is still very much in question today. This works out to waist high if that FNMOC model has it right, but the ECMWF is more bullish with seas easily 35', which would work out to chest high or better, and other models (GFS and NFCENS) show a weaker system. This is an example of how models are so disparate today when looking at the bigger picture on the ECMWF (model from ECMWF):

Not only does this particular model show a bigger New Zealand system, it also (working south to north) favors something surf-worthy from Easter Island for the 9th, perhaps a tropical system for swell around the 4th or 5th (which hardly any model can agree on), and a somewhat odd take on the two NW storms with 5th-6th swell ETAs for SoCal. There are a lot of balls in the air at the moment but hopefully models will converge better in time for my next report. Either way, I'll stay on top of it, and with your support I'll keep you posted.

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

Wednesday the 28th should run waist to chest high at south facing breaks with sets being somewhat infrequent. West facing breaks should run waist high.

Thursday the 29th looks about waist to chest high at west facing breaks from wind swell, and waist high at south facing breaks.

Friday the 30th looks about waist to chest high at west facing breaks and waist max at south facing spots.

Saturday the 1st looks about knee to waist high at most breaks.

Sunday the 2nd looks about knee to waist high at most breaks.

Monday the 3rd also looks about knee to waist high at most breaks.

Tuesday the 4th is expected to run chest max at south facing breaks and waist high at west facing spots.

Wednesday the 5th, so far, is expected to run chest max at south facing breaks and waist to chest high at west facing spots.

Thursday the 6th, so far, looks about waist to chest at most breaks.

Friday the 7th, so far, looks about waist high at most breaks.


Weather Outlook:
High pressure centered over Nevada will remain in play today and Wednesday before breaking down and moving east Wednesday through the rest of the week. Pressure gradients are trending offshore, but marine layer was present at some beaches this morning, which should burn off early. Today and Wednesday should be mostly clear with beach max temps around 80° from LA south and mid to upper 70s north of LA.

Thursday sees the flow begin turning onshore while low pressure troughs line up to pass to the north of SoCal. Thursday may be fairly clear in the AM with minimal marine layer and max beach temps in the mid to upper 70s from LA south, and low 70s north of LA.

Friday into the weekend sees a progressive cool-down with marine layer expected each morning. Burn-offs should occur late morning with beach max temps in the low 70s from LA south and upper 60s north of LA.

The weekend does have one caveat as models are starting to align on a 3-low scenario, two of which would make for an Omega Block near SoCal (model by NOAA MAG):

The tropical system to the south is nearly a non-starter, but it could influence some northeasterly winds across southern portions of SoCal this weekend. But the bigger feature would be the inland low in the Omega Block, which could retrograde a bit (move west, not east) toward SoCal. This could tighten up pressure gradients for a kind of inside-slider offshore event. However, at this point it looks, at most, like a weak northerly gradient with mild winds over the weekend. Nonetheless, I felt it worth mentioning, and if anything comes of it I'll have an update in my Thursday report.


Wind Outlook:
Winds at 6:00 AM were light and variable most everywhere. Afternoon onshores should reach 10-15 mph in most spots. Wednesday and Thursday look similar. Friday into the weekend should see AM light and variables with afternoon onshores 8-12 mph


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


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