Yep that is right…another round of SW swell is being kicked out from the Southern Hemi. It will be sending another pulse of overhead to well-overhead surf to Central America and Mainland Mexico.
Baja Sur will have a smaller but still very fun pulse of SW energy.
Southern California, on the other hand, will once again get the shaft by the South Pacific Island shadow. Sure we will get a few waves but it will be quite a bit weaker and less consistent than other areas.
I was checkout out this storm today trying to get a read on the wave heights and noticed that at first glance it had a lot of characteristics of the last Southern Hemi storm that kicked out a big SW swell. (You can see how well that swell hit Mainland Mexico, and Hawaii)
Looking closer there are some pretty big differences…here check it out
These next 2 QUIKSCAT images are from the current storm…
While this next series is from the last one…
First off you note that the new storm is not nearly as strong as the last one…it is still healthy but it doesn’t have that “eye of mordor” black hole in the core of the storm…(its core is more like an angry purple). Just because it is lacking wind speeds doesn’t mean that it will be too much smaller surfwise. It does have a few other things that the first storm didn’t.
It has a longer, more established fetch…in fact it is moving over an area that had what we call “an established sea state” which happens to be already pointed in a good general direction…so the storm doesn’t have to waste energy trying to produce the sea-state needed to generate swell…it just hops on the work another cold-front and starts kicking out waves tag-team style. The fetch is also a bit wider which only adds to the energy it will impart to the swell
Finally this storm looks like it has a better movement track…particularly for Mainland Mex and Central America…it is moving more towards those areas than slightly “against the grain” like the last system did.
What does all this mean? Well basically I think that even though the storm wasn’t as strong as the first one it did have enough other positive factors to produce a swell very close to what we saw with the last swell.
So on to the Surf…
Mainland Mexico and Central America will see this swell start to arrive on the 29th…with the peak of the swell hitting late on the 30th and then holding strong through May 1-3rd. Look for surf consistently in the head-high to well overhead range for the average exposed breaks. Standout deepwater spots, particularly those in Mainland Mexico (Like Puerto Escondido) will have sets hitting around the double-overhead range.
Baja Sur sees less of the swell but still plenty of playful waves. Look for this swell to arrive more on the 30th but peak May 1-3. As the swell peaks most spots will hold around shoulder-high+ on the sets while the standout spots see overhead sets.
Southern California and Baja Norte will see shadowing by the South Pacific Islands along with some potential wind problems as strong NW flow moves into the area the same time as the swell. Look for the swell to start showing late on the 30th, fill in slowly on May 1st and then peak May 2-3. Look for mostly waist-chest high waves for the exposed areas and some shoulder high+ waves at the standouts, which will be mostly in Northern San Diego and Southern Orange County.
Northern California will see about the same as SoCal (along with very similar timing)...lots of waist-chest high waves at the average spots while the standouts see some shoulder high sets. The reality of it is that a lot of this energy will get lost in the more dominant WNW energy that is likely to push through around the same time. But it is worth keeping an eye on it if you live around some S facing breaks.
That is about all I got for this swell…I wish it had a better swell-angle for SoCal but you can’t win them all. There are a couple of decent storms way under Australia right now…so it will be interesting to see what they do once they reach the South Pacific…I am sure I will be filling you in on them later.