SoCal Forecast
Updated most Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays

Thursday August 13, 2020 7:10 AM
By Nathan Cool

Surf Charts for SoCal

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Today (Thursday) steep angled SE swell from Elida has arrived in SoCal but will fade Friday. Light to moderate southern hemisphere ground swell is due early next week, increasing by Tuesday. We'll likely see an injection of tropical SE swell in the mix around that time. Moderate SW ground swell is due for the second half of next week. Light SW swell is due by the 25th. A bigger southern hemi is becoming likely for the 27th-28th. And there's news today on the Niño situation. Condition-wise: dog-day weather on tap with some precip chances; winds remain moderate through the forecast; a tidal swing is getting underway; and water temps are fair but cool for this time of year in many spots.

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Early this morning, periods were primarily running 11-13 seconds from 160-170° and 12 seconds from 310°.

South facing breaks with good SE exposure are looking at chest high sets, while other south facing breaks were mostly waist high. West facing spots were mostly knee to waist.

Swell Forecast and Schedule
Buoys in the outer waters off SoCal were running 4-6'. Nearshore buoys were running 1.8-3.4', with a wide disparity at spots able to pull in Elida's swell, with top spots recording those 3+ readings from 160°+ energy.

Tide levels will swing wider this weekend into next week as we approach a New Moon Tuesday the 18th. Today we have a 3' high around 7:45 AM, a slackwater 2.9' low around 11:00 AM, and a 5' high around 6:00 PM.

Water temps yesterday were running 60-65° in most of SD and OC. In LA yesterday, most of the USCG readings went unrecorded, but Zuma was reported to be running 58°, and the Santa Monica pier has been running 63-67°. In VC, Channel Islands Harbor dropped to 55° yesterday morning and SB Harbor reported 58°.

Swell-wise: Swell from Elida has arrived but this is a tough angle for a lot of SoCal, evident on the CDIP model this morning:

While most of SoCal is in smaller surf (darker blue) we can see a tongue of Elida's energy lapping into parts of OC, and a smidge around VC (mostly Pt. Mugu). That is based off 170° energy, but most of the energy this morning was coming in from an even steeper angle (~165°), reducing the number of surf spots picking up Elida's energy. As the day progresses though we'll see this swell angle work towards a more southerly angle, eventually reaching 180° some time this afternoon. This should allow more south facing breaks to pull in some chest high sets, but periods will still be relatively short ranging from 11-14 seconds, making sets and waves in each set varied in size, and shape. Swell from Elida should then be all but gone Friday morning.

Note there are chances for precip from Elida. Any time a storm gets this close to SoCal some kind of weather is to be expected. See the Weather section below for more on that.

Sunday the 16th (building day) into Tuesday the 18th (peak day) should see SSE swell from a recent low latitude southern hemisphere storm that headed to Chile. We're in for the barest of glancing blows, about waist max Sunday the 16th and Monday the 17th at south facing breaks, and then chest high at times Tuesday the 18th with swell angled from 175-180° and periods 16-18 seconds.

We may also see tropical swell come ashore Monday the 17th and/or Tuesday the 18th from that Baja-slider mentioned in my last report, which is now on the NHC radar this morning as storm #1:

Most models agree this will hug the coast of Baja as it treks north and top out with seas around 20'. This would merely bring waist to chest high waves to breaks with SE exposure (160°), and since we already have southern hemi of the same size at that time, this may not be noticeable.

BTW: Storm #2 on the NHC hit parade this morning isn't looking like a wave-maker for SoCal yet, but it and storm #1 are expected to keep a monsoonal flow in place with precip chances off and on through the forecast — see the Weather section below for more.

Wednesday the 19th should see SW swell from recent storm activity near New Zealand. This activity stayed in low latitudes with moderately sized seas (30'), which should result in waist to chest max surf for SoCal's south facing breaks, angled from around 210° and periods 16 seconds. This swell should last a few days, backing off Saturday the 22nd.

Monday the 24th into Tuesday the 25th should see some more light New Zealand swell, about waist high for south facing breaks, angled from 210° and periods 14-16 seconds.

Thursday the 27th into Friday the 28th could see bigger southern hemisphere swell. Some of the 150h+ models show a large system (30-35' seas) growing as it circles Antarctica, getting a slight northward nudge when south of Pitcairn. This holds potential for chest+ surf at south facing breaks, angled from 190-200° with periods 18-20 seconds. It's far too early though to make the call, but I'll keep you posted.

Last but not least, NOAA release their latest ENSO Diagnostic Discussion today, which is calling for the possibility of La Niña this winter, but there's also a fairly high probability for a neutral-Niño as well. While a La Niña would be bads news for surf and rain this winter, the neutral-Niño idea wouldn't totally put the kibosh on sizable wintertime surf, and, as I talk about in Surf, Flood, Fire & Mud it can result in exceptionally wet winters. So although a full-blown El Niño won't be on tap this coming winter, there is still hope for beneficial weather and waves through the upcoming season.

Here's how the day-to-day is breaking down so far, but first, here's an ad to help pay the bills:

Friday the 14th should run waist max everywhere.

Saturday the 15th looks about knee to waist high everywhere.

Sunday the 16th looks about knee to waist high everywhere.

Monday the 17th looks about knee to waist high everywhere with the better size at south facing spots. Note there is a slight possibility for bigger size at breaks with SE exposure (from tropical activity).

Tuesday the 18th looks about waist to chest high at south facing breaks and knee to waist at west facing spots. There is also a chance for added tropical swell.

Wednesday the 19th is expected to run waist to chest high at south facing breaks and waist max at west facing spots.

Thursday the 20th is expected to run waist to chest high at south facing breaks and waist max at west facing spots.

Friday the 21st, so far, is expected to run waist to chest high at south facing breaks and waist max at west facing spots.

Saturday the 22nd, so far, looks about waist max everywhere, with the better size at south facing spots.

Sunday the 23rd, so far, looks similar.

Monday the 24th, so far, looks about waist high at south facing breaks, smaller at west facing spots.

Tuesday the 25th, so far, looks similar.

Wednesday the 26th, so major change.

Thursday the 27th and/or Friday the 28th holds potential for bigger southern hemi ground swell...chest+ so far at south facing breaks, but too early to call right now.

Weather Outlook
Welcome to the dog days. High pressure is building over the American Southwest and will be in full force Friday into early next week (at least). Moisture is also streaming in from Elida, with precip showing up this morning on NWS doppler radar:

Typical for this time of year, tropical moisture building up against the mountains brings the highest chance of precip to inland areas, but a sprinkle or brief shower can't be completely ruled out along the coast today.

As for air temps and marine layer, beach max temps should hover in the mid to upper 70s now through at least the middle of next week with minimal AM marine layer (if any). With humidity levels at the coast running 70-80%, it could feel sticky at times. Inland valleys, on the other hand, will have lower humidity in the 35-50% range, but with temps well into triple digits (108° in Woodland Hills Saturday), the heat/humidity there will be oppressive to say the least.

Tropical rain — mostly mountains, slight chance valleys, little-to-none coast — will continue for a while as those other two tropical storms mentioned in the surf section above get closer to our region. As it stands right now, after precip passes today, another round could come in from south to north Friday afternoon, staying though mostly south of LA. Saturday and Sunday will likely stay dry, Monday probably dry, with the next shot at precip starting around Wednesday into Thursday. Once again though, very little would likely fall around the beaches, but the possibility is there.

Wind Outlook
Winds at 7:00 AM were light and variable most everywhere with a southerly element in many spots. Afternoon onshores are expected 10-15 mph. No major change is expected through the weekend.


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


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