Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2006 | Tonight a powerful, localized fetch has formed off the California coast in response to the intense windfest we’ve been experiencing over the last 12 hours. This has increased coastal buoys to the 25-30 foot zone along the Central and Northern coasts in the past few hours. This energy has peaked off the NCal coast, is now pummeling the Central Coast, and will peak in SoCal tonight. Plenty of big surf is expected by daybreak, and caution is strongly advised. Here’s how things are breaking down so far tonight.

Right now, the California Buoy is not seeing the localized fetch, and sitting in the outer waters, this indicator is checking in with moderate 15 feet seas with 11-second periods. Closer to the coast though, things are different. The Half Moon Bay buoy is at an astonishing 20 feet with ground-swell long, 14+ second periods. The Cape San Martin buoy has just increased in the past few hours, and is checking in at a sick, 24 feet with 15-second periods. Harvest platform is clocking in at 26 feet with 14 second periods.

Overall, the swell energy in the water shows NW periods averaging 14 seconds from a steep, 315 degrees.

Please note that as with all long-period swells, especially given the steep-angled nature of this particular, localized NW swell, there will inevitably be dissimilarity in size between breaks of varying bathymetry and westerly exposure. Surf spots that have steeper bathymetry that shoal well and refract the NW swell energy ideally-especially those with excellent westerly exposure-will see bigger sets than the slower sloped breaks (particularly those with minimal westerly exposure).

Additionally, this swell’s long periods, and the sometimes-spotty nature of the steep angled NW energy can produce some deceiving lulls at times; many waves may look surfable, while every now and then monster waves could roll in. This swell will inevitably increase the risk of riptides, especially during the outgoing tides at west facing breaks, and alongshore currents are a concern as well. Caution is strongly advised.

In SoCal, wave heights are running couple feet overhead to DOH at most west facing breaks with top spots seeing face heights reaching 15 feet. South facing breaks are running head high to DOH when the better sets come through. Dual exposure spots (SW exposed) are DOH and up.

Northern California and the Central Coast are seeing sets running 20-25 feet on the faces at most west facing breaks, bigger at times at standouts. South facing breaks are running DOH+, 15+ at SW facing breaks.

The tide is at manageable levels now, but we will be entering another radical tidal swing by the end of the week from a Full Moon due on the 3rd.

Water temperatures are averaging 60 degrees in San Diego, 59 in Orange County, 60 in LA, 59 in Ventura County, 59 in Santa Barbara, 58 along the Central Coast, and 57 degrees in NCal.

Winds as of 6:00 this evening were blowing over 30 mph in SB, 30 in VC, 15-20 in LA, 10-20 in OC, and 15-25 in SD. These strong winds are believed to have peaked and should diminish throughout the evening, but Thursday morning may still see…[more]

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