Report Date & Time: October 18, 2018 7:15 AM
By forecaster: Nathan Cool
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Today (Thursday) we have a moderate mix of NW and SW ground swells in SoCal. Although smaller surf is on tap this weekend, southern hemi ground swell is due early next week. NW swell for the second half of next week is downgraded, but it looks like we should see a series of southern hemi swells starting Friday the 26th, lasting, potentially, into the beginning of November. The tropics appears to be firing up yet another storm, which could become hurricane Vicente, but it's questionable if this would be surf-worthy for SoCal. Condition-wise: offshore winds and warm weather over the next few days shift early next week; tide levels are moderate now but swing wide next week; and water temps are fair but faltering in many spots.
This morning, periods were running 15 seconds from 190-210° and 16-18 seconds from 290-300°.
Most all breaks were seeing sets running chest high.
Swell Forecast and Schedule
Buoys in the outer waters off SoCal were running 5-8'. Nearshore buoys were running 2.0-2.6'.
Tide levels will be moderate this week with the next swing starting up next week as we approach a Full Moon Wednesday the 24th. Today we have a 4.2' high around 7:30 AM, a 2.7' low around 1:00 PM, a 4.4' high around 6:15 PM, and a 0.7' low after midnight.
Water temps were running 64-67° in most of SD. OC was varied yesterday with Newport and Huntington Beach 63°, and San Clemente 67°. In LA, Cabrillo and Zuma were running 63-65° yesterday, and Santa Monica and Hermosa reported 67° yesterday. Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard has been running 60-63°. SB Harbor continues to hold steady at 67°.
Swell-wise: Today we're seeing NW ground swell from that storm that broke off Kamchatka and peaked near the Aleutians a few days ago, mixing with a steady flow of moderate southern hemi ground swell. This combo should continue Friday, although southern hemi will start to wane a bit, and then both swells back down this weekend.
Tuesday the 23rd is when our next swell is due from a storm that recently peaked southeast of New Zealand. This storm moved ideally northward but stayed in the low latitudes, resulting in a lot of wave decay. South facing breaks should see sets running chest high from this, angled from 215° with periods 16-18 seconds. Sets though will likely be intermittent with few waves per set.
NW ground swells that were originally slated for the 24th-26th have been downgraded on the models today. The now-medium-range models are favoring these being weaker storms, with some being sent to high latitudes, away from our swell window. The 108h+ models show a moderate system potentially bringing waist high-ish waves to SoCal around the 25th, but even that isn't looking promising at this point, so it looks like we'll have to waist until the end of next week for our next round of surf.
A series of southern hemi swells is on tap to start Friday the 26th (building day?) through possibly the 1st or 2nd of November. As you may recall from my last report, an ideal pattern developed east of New Zealand to send some late-season southern hemi swell to SoCal: A trough of low pressure is bulging the jetstream northward off Antarctica to guide and fuel storms breaking out of the region, directing swell toward SoCal. This pattern has developed and one storm is sending us waves as we speak, due by Saturday the 27th (possibly building Friday the 26th). The 48h models show another, smaller storm, and the 132h models show a decent sized storm moving north, but at a bit more of a southerly angle from the other two as the trough of low pressure moves east. Based on this pattern, here's how things are breaking down so far:
Saturday the 27th should see sets running chest high at south facing breaks with swell angled from 210° and periods 16-18 seconds. Some of this may fill in Friday the 26th. This swell should continue Sunday the 28th.
Monday the 29th would likely see size drop to waist to chest high from remnant swell from this first storm, and new swell from storm #2, which is on the 48h models today. Angle stays at 210°, and periods drop to 14-16 seconds. This swell should continue Tuesday the 30th.
Thursday the 1st could then see swell from storm #3, which is still on the long range, 132h models today. This holds potential for chest high surf angled from 190° with periods 16-18 seconds. Still have a few more days to go to firm this one up.
Looking toward the tropics, TS Tara is now history but another storm is spinning up, which could follow a similar, no-surf-for-SoCal trek, or it may drift ever-so-slightly into our swell window — depending on what roll-of-the-dice long range model one places their bets on this morning. This would be named Vicente — if all works out —. But being late in the season and conditions not entirely favorable right now for hurricane tracks passing into our swell window, I'm merely pushing a dull yellow pin the forecast charts this morning and moving on. I'll keep an on it though, and I should know more in time for my Sunday report. If this does bring swell, btw, it would arrive late next week.
And last but certainly not least, there's good news on the Niño front as we're officially entering El Niño territory with water temps in the Niño zones on the rise. In fact, the sea surface temps last week came in at 0.9°C above normal in the popularly-measured 3.4 zone (where Niño measurements typically mean the most), teasing the magic-mark 1°C that signals a notable Niño. This though may top out at just 1.3°C in a couple months, but it would still be a decent El Niño, and like I talk about in Surf, Flood, Fire & Mud, this could be good news for winds this fall, rain this winter, and notable surf this winter as well. Hazards though come into the picture as well — the grey cloud that can accompany the surf forecast's silver lining.
Here's how the day-to-day is breaking down so far:
Friday the 19th is expected to run waist to chest high everywhere.
Saturday the 20th looks about waist high everywhere.
Sunday the 21st looks about knee to waist high everywhere.
Monday the 22nd is expected to start off waist high everywhere with southern hemi building slightly late in the day.
Tuesday the 23rd looks about chest high at south facing breaks and waist high at west facing spots.
Wednesday the 24th looks similar.
Thursday the 25th, so far, is expected to run waist high everywhere. This is the day surf from Vicente could come ashore, but that's in the long-shot category today, so the call, so far, is waist high.
Friday the 26th, so far, looks about waist high everywhere with southern hemi building late in the day.
Saturday the 27th, so far, is expected to run chest high at south facing breaks.
Sunday the 28th, so far, looks about chest high at south facing spots.
Monday the 29th, so far, looks about waist to chest high at south facing breaks.
Tuesday the 30th, so far, looks about waist to chest high at south facing breaks.
Wednesday the 31st, so far, looks similar.
Thursday the 1st, so far, holds potential for chest high surf at south facing breaks.
Overall, mild, warm, SoCal fall weather is on tap through Saturday, and then cooler temps are likely early next week, but precip chances are waning from the forecast.
Long story: High pressure sits over the region and a low over Utah is sliding south as a cut-off low moves west to SoCal. It's a complicated pattern with some models showing another round of Santa Ana winds later today peaking Friday, waning Saturday, and disappearing Sunday. Some of this though relies on the cut-off low, which, spinning counterclockwise, would spin NE winds across LA and VC, and more of an onshore effect farther south. Offshore flow should, in any case, last through Saturday, but wind strength is questionable (see below).
Short story: Beaches should reach the mid 70s today, near 80 Friday, and then high 70s Saturday. Sunday could see AM marine layer return with a timely burn-off and beaches in the low 70s. Same goes for Monday, so far.
Winds at 8:00 AM were lightly offshore from the NNE from LA north 5-9 mph, and WSW farther south 3-6 mph. Offshores may gain a bit more strength in the wind-prone regions this morning before turning onshore everywhere 9-14 mph in the afternoon. Friday should see a bit more of an offshore push with, at a minimum 5-10 mph offshores, even in the wind-prone regions; however, there is a chance that the most wind-prone regions of VC could see 15 mph NE winds Friday AM. Friday afternoon should see NW onshores 9-14 mph, possibly a bit stronger in VC and SB. Saturday should see AM offshores 5-8 mph, although there is a chance for the most wind-prone regions of VC to see offshores 10-15 mph at some point in the morning. Saturday should see afternoon onshores 8-12 mph everywhere. Sunday should see light AM offshores 5-8 mph everywhere with afternoon onshores 8-12 mph. Monday, so far, is looking at AM light and variables with afternoon onshores 8-12 mph.
Until my next report (Sunday), take care, be safe, and smile in the lineup!