Decreasing Surf. May Gray Weekend. Weather to Improve Next Week | Socal Weekly Forecast

Overview 

5/20/22 – 5/26/22: Nothing too noteworthy to report once again swell wise this week. That being said there should still be some fun/rideable surf through the region, particularly for the summer south facing spots. The primary energy in the water will be Southern Hemisphere swell all week. Size will show best towards the beginning of the forecast. Friday the 20th and into Saturday the 21st will be the biggest days, as southerly energy shows best then. Size will taper off through the end of the weekend and through the workweek before a new but smaller Southern Hemi shows by Wednesday the 25th into Thursday the 26th. There will be a little bit of NW energy mixing in most days, but it will be pretty small. The best NW energy will show the first few days in the forecast, and could help break things up a bit. 

May Gray is in full swing as of late, and looks to continue for at least the first few days of the forecast. The next couple of mornings are expected to see a thicker marine layer with even a slight chance of drizzle. Along with these low clouds, unfavorable south wind is expected too. As we head towards the middle of the forecast conditions look to improve some. Mornings look to have lighter winds, and low clouds should burn off quicker in the mornings. Overall though, local winds should be pretty light even into the afternoons most days. Temperatures will rise a few degrees mid-week as a ridge builds over the region, peaking in strength around Wednesday the 25th. The coast should be mostly spared from the heat, unlike some areas inland. 

 

Best Bets 

  • If looking for the best size, the first 3 days of the forecast will be biggest as south swell shows best then. Watch out for onshore south wind over the mornings. 
  • Conditions are looking slightly better through the workweek, and there will be leftover swell plus new south swell late in the forecast. 
  • Keep an eye out on the afternoon tide push each day. Most afternoons look to have relatively light conditions.

Day to Day Breakdown 

Friday the 20th: 3-5 feet 

The biggest day in the forecast as a fresh Southern Hemisphere swell tops out. Those summer, south facing breaks will show the best size, and winter more west facing breaks will be smaller than the numbers listed above. There will be a small NW windswell in the background. Unfortunately, local conditions aren’t looking great. Onshore south wind is expected for most of the region in the morning, and should continue all day. Expect thick marine layer too. 

Saturday the 21st: 3-4+ feet 

Size for south facing spots holds similar to Friday, with a touch less energy as the day goes on. NW windswell should fade out too. Which would be a fun day, south wind across the region looks to ruin conditions once again. It shouldn’t be completely blown out, but conditions do look a bit rough, especially for areas in OC and San Diego. 

Sunday the 22nd: 2-4 feet 

The slow easing trend continues, but there should still be some decent southerly energy to work with out there. The morning will show the best size. Despite the small size, this day may be a better day to target. The morning window looks a few notches cleaner than Friday/Saturday. The tide will be drained out mid morning, but some cleaner surf is looking likely. 

Monday the 23rd: 2-4 feet 

Size is expected to level out due to overlapping south swells in the water. Not much NW energy expected for the workweek, so waves will be fairly lined up at the points and walled at the beach breaks. Local winds don’t look ideal, but they do look lighter than Friday/Saturday. The morning this day may have a window of relatively clean surf. Afternoon should be on the lighter side too. 

Tuesday the 24th: 2-4 feet 

Similar size and swell to the last few days. Some south swell making its way in there and not much NW windswell. Same story with the conditions too, just a light south wind expected to be on it during the morning. That looks to continue through the afternoon and possibly easing up late in the day.

Wednesday the 25th: 2-4 feet 

Another day of smaller but ridable surf, with south swell as the primary swell in the water. Later in the day we are expected to see a new south swell show, but right now I don’t think it’ll add much additional size. Local winds are expected to blow from the south with just a light to moderate strength. Slight chance for an evening glass off. 

Thursday the 26th: 3-4 feet 

That new south swell is expected to show better this day, possibly adding a bit more size to the lineup. Right now I’ll bump up size to the 3-4 foot range, and southerly focal points could see larger sets. Right now local winds are looking mostly light, so this could be a fun day to target. 

 

Long Range Forecast 

The North Pacific has slowed down considerably these last few weeks, as it does this time of year as we head closer to summer. The only energy we will continue to see from the NW direction is from more local sources as high pressure strengthens off the coast. Luckily, we have a good share of waves from the South Pacific consistently rolling in this month. Although nothing too solid on the horizon, we still got some pulses of south swell to look forward to. The next south swell beyond this week’s forecast is looking likely for around Memorial Day, Monday the 30th. This swell is expected to have lots of west in it and could be a bit lully, but fun-sized. 

Water temperatures are gradually warming up as we head deeper into May thanks to longer days, slightly warmer air temperatures, and no recent immediate coastal upwelling. Most areas in SoCal are now seeing SSTs in the low 60s, with the exception of areas farther north in Ventura and Santa Barbara still in the upper 50s. 

No major heat waves are on the horizon for the coastal areas in the region. Models are indicating these next few months to be pretty mild for the immediate coast, most likely being dominated by marine layer and continued onshore flow.

Jax Richards 

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