Massive WNW Storm Swell Slams California

by ATOM / 23 January 2017 / No Comments

After what seems like the longest flat spell we’ve ever had, we were finally graced with some waves over the weekend. While most places were either maxed out or blown out, some spots in California had a few gems. Saturday morning in Santa Barbara, just about every point came to life and delivered some much needed swell. There was a little window Sunday morning 1/22 for some spots in South OC and San Diego that were going off.

The S.S. Palo Alto in Aptos near Santa Cruz, which is a historical symbol in Santa Cruz County had the stern of the boat break off from the powerful waves. The ship has been there since 1929 where it was used as an amusement ship. All media outlets and weather reporting agencies are saying this is one of the biggest swells they have ever seen. The Monterey buoy hit a record breaking 34.12 feet the morning of 1/22.

Up in Santa Barbara County, El Capitan was drenched with rain Friday 1/20 which created mudslides that sent 5 cabins and 22 vehicles down the creek and some even into the river mouth. No injuries reported, but a lot of destruction at the El Cap campground. The surrounding area will remain closed until all debris is cleaned up.

Swell Statistics:

Storm Location and Movement: Slow, steady eastward track across the Central Pacific into the Gulf of Alaska Jan 18th-21st.

Storm Wind/Seas: Satellite confirmed fetch of 40-55kts+ wind well-aimed at the West Coast, with seas to 40’ recorded.

Peak Storm Intensity: 972mb low flanked by strengthening 1028 high on Jan 19th.

Swell Travel Time: 2 days for Nor/CenCal, 2.5+ days for SoCal.

Peak of Swell: 25’+ at 20 seconds on the Pt Reyes Buoy.

Credit: Surfline

Check out Surfline’s feature of this swell for more pictures/video