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December 2016

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The Surf & Weather Forecast for

Southern California

December 8, 2016



In all honesty, Thursday looks pretty sad.  Friday we’re expecting to see a little bit of a WNW-NW (280-305) mix starting to build.  That new energy will peak in the small to moderate size range late Friday/Saturday before easing through the remainder of the weekend and trailing off early to mid-next week.  Sadly the currently synoptic pattern is not good for delivering swell to Southern California.  Read more for details…..

Get the live Southern California Buoy Forecast graph here –

The only good thing that could come out of Thursday would be a few small ankle to waist high inconsistent waves at standouts SW (~225) exposures.  Otherwise weakening windswell from Wednesday.  Unfortunately the culprit is a zonal pattern over Northern California and the Pacific Northwest while Southern California sits high and dry for the most part.  Essentially there’s storm activity, but its concentrated too far north to bring any energy to Socal.  There’s a chance that the passing storm system could generate a few showers for Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, but overall mostly high pressure remains over the Southern California coast, keeping moisture and winds a non-issue.  Unfortunately that also means a swell drought.

Because the storm is staying pretty far to the north, and most of the fetch aimed at California is on the weaker side, its going to be hard for much of the energy to sneak around Pt. Conception and work its way into Socal.  Still… we should see a little.

At the moment wave heights are expected to increase a little bit on Friday.  Standouts are expected to be running knee to waist high+, maybe a little bigger at standouts.  The swell should peak Friday night into early Saturday, so Saturday is also likely to see size in the knee to chest high range.  Conditions aren’t looking too bad, with light variable morning winds followed by a light to moderate onshore breeze in the afternoons.  It could be a little breezier Friday evening after the low passes to the north.  Shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the surf/conditions though.

Sunday through mid-next week we’re going to see similar conditions, but the surf is going to be dropping back into the ankle to waist high range for most exposures.  Wish I had some better news for you all, but… that’s where we’re at right now.

Tropical Overview

No tropical cyclones at this time


North Pacific Swell Forecast

Another fairly dull long-range forecast.  The storm track in the West Pacific hasn’t been lining up with the Jet Stream unfortunately.  The west Coast is seeing a pretty weak-zonal jet on top of that.

The result is going to be a couple of small quick systems producing a little bit of long-period energy on the NW Pacific.  Without the upper level support though they don’t become strong enough to genearte any solid swell, and the storm track ends up sucking them back up into the northern latitudes before they can get whisked along towards the West Coast.  Not a great scenario for us, but coudl be enough to at least send some small longer-period WNW-NW (290-310) energy for around the 18th/19th.  Before that though, another of these low level storms is expected to slowly form near Hawaii next week.  With a little help from the zonal Jet, it is supposed to get pushed E-NE towards the West Coast.  This one (as of right now) looks a bit weaker than the current system we’re experiencing.  That doesn’t mean we couldn’t see some solid swell from it, we’re just going to have to keep an eye on things for awhile longer.  Next week’s update should give us a better idea of what to expect for around the 16th/17th.  Stay tuned.

South Pacific Swell Forecast

Nothing coming out of the SPac at this time.

Next long-range forecast expected for Monday the 12th of December. 

Austin Gendron
Surf Forecaster

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