Purple Blob Report: Summer & Fall 2015

A strengthening El Nino, record breaking water temperatures and the most intense storm in the history of the Western Hemisphere. Summer 2015 was a dynamic and interesting meteorological season. From May-October, at least 2 swells came monthly, making for a solid surf season.

The 2015 South Swell Season started early with a healthy dose of southern hemi swell in late March.

South Swell with NW windswell- March 28, 2015
South Swell with NW windswell- March 28, 2015

Back to back, steep, south swells impacted California in early May. The second swell packed a serious punch with 25 second periods! Unfortunately, the angle was steep and persistent north wind made the conditions less than ideal. Although, there were fun windows of well overhead, heavy surf.

The 2015 Eastern Pacific Hurricane season witnessed a record breaking 30 depressions, 26 named storms, a record 16 hurricanes and a record 11 major hurricanes. Including the all-time strongest storm, Hurricane Patricia on October 23rd.   With sustained 200 mph winds, if the scale extended, she would’ve been a Category 7! This monster veered away from destroying Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at the last moment, instead impacting a far less populated area of the Mexican coast.

For the first time in recorded history, 3 major hurricanes, Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena spun simultaneously in late August. They sent a plethora of swell throughout the Pacific, especially to Hawaii.

Late summer/fall through October, saw a very active southern hemisphere storm track and a series of strong pulses of swell.

Overall, Summer/Fall of 2015 was a solid season, with consistent pulses from the Southern Hemisphere and a record breaking tropical season. Record breaking water temperatures kept wetsuits in the closet until November. Most mornings and evenings had good offshore/glassy conditions.

Unfortunately, November 2015 is the worst month of surf in a couple years. However, El Nino is real, so go ahead and get excited about this coming winter!


Purple Blob Report: Winter 14/15 and Spring 2015

The winter swell season 14/15 began with a series of solid NW swells in early December.


December dropped an exciting 6+ inches of rain on San Diego county. The North Pacific swell and precip engine was alive and well.

A very cold storm brought the snow level down to 1000' on the night of Dec. 30, 2014.
A very cold storm brought the snow level down to 1000′ on the night of Dec. 30, 2014.

To begin the new year, high pressure settled over the eastern Pacific, effectively shutting off the precipitation. Sunny skies, hot days, light wind and warm water pervaded much of January and February.  

From our perspective, Sunday, January 25th was the best day of the winter.  Classic long period, NW swell started filling in on Saturday. The next morning dawned 6-10ft, glassy and pumping. 

Complex low pressure system in the North Pacific. Jan. 20, 2015. Photo: StormSurf
Complex low pressure system in the North Pacific- Jan. 20, 2015.                        Image: StormSurf

The rest of winter passed with consistently fun but not epic surf. Spring is acting rather strange. May 2015 is one of the wettest Mays in recorded history with well over an inch of rain. That brings our season total in San Diego to 9+ inches; only an inch below average but not enough to quench our thirst.

In March, Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. The storm, moving east, then went extra-tropical and strengthened. A solid SSW swell reached California beginning on Sat. March 28th and peaking on Sunday the 29th. NW windswell provided just enough cross up to create stellar left-hand bowl sections.

Total Lunar Eclipse on the morning of April 4th.
Total Lunar Eclipse on the morning of April 4th.