Skiers aren’t the only El Nino believers: surf community gearing up for swells

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 3, 2009 9:42 am

Skiing and surfing have always had a rather complementary relationship.

In fact, many skiers and surfers actively participate in both activities. For residents of our great state of California, it’s almost a claim to fame to have participated in both the same day. Additional similarities can be seen through the occasional prevalence of harsh localism for the most highly-treasured spots.

However, one of the most direct, and often ignored relationships between skiing and surfing, is the shared love for the fabled weather pattern, El Nino. Ah yes – El Nino, that periodic change in the atmosphere and ocean of the tropical Pacific region that causes California and the Southwestern US to see wetter winters (read: EPIC Snow for the mountains) and massive oceanic swells for the surfing folks. 

While El Nino admittedly brings its fair share of problems such as floods, droughts, and brush fires to certain areas, most surfers just cherish these winters for bringing along more temperate waters, and big consistent waves.

The existence of this El Nino effect happening this winter has been debated in several circles. For example, folks in Whistler, BC, have seen the snowiest month in the resort’s history. As El Nino is typically supposed to bring dry and foggy winters to The Pacific Northwest, and not puke on the region with the white stuff, some have wondered if we really are experiencing an El Nino year.

Still others suggest this November could just be a giant lesson in mind-terrorism. My TSC colleague, Zeke, has been prognosticating the ‘doom and gloom’ he expects to start hitting the Pacific Northwest in Mid-December. He follows that sentiment by making bold predictions of glorious snowfall hitting the Sierras in places such as Mammoth and Squaw Valley

It’s still too early to tell one way or the other, but our surfing brethren may also support Zeke’s views. Epic conditions popped up late Wednesday on Hawaii’s North Shore, where the O’Neill World Cup was scheduled to run. Unfortunately, waves were flat all morning. Organizers put the contest on hold for hours, praying the predicted swell would arrive, but saw nothing.

Shortly after packing up the event festivities, the sets of course started poring through. Sunset Beach was epic by day’s end.

Meanwhile, when this storm eventually reaches the California coastline early next week, there’s a strong chance it will bring some serious rainfall in with the swell, hopefully ensuring the Sierras get their snow due. 

Check out the National Weather Service’s “Special Weather Statement” for the Sierras:

 

THE FIRST STORM WOULD BE ASSOCIATED WITH A STRONG COLD FRONT EARLY IN THE WEEK, ROUGHLY SUNDAY NIGHT OR MONDAY. SNOW LEVELS WITH THIS SYSTEM WILL DROP TO THE VALLEY FLOORS. A SECOND, WARMER, STORM IS POSSIBLE LATER IN THE WEEK, SOMETIME BETWEEN WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY. SNOW LEVELS WOULD BE HIGHER WITH THIS STORM. WITH BOTH SYSTEMS, WINDS WILL INCREASE AND BECOME STRONG ESPECIALLY ON THE SIERRA RIDGES.

AGAIN, UNCERTAINTY IN THE DETAILS REMAINS HIGH AND IT IS TOO SOON TO ESTIMATE POTENTIAL RAIN/SNOW AMOUNTS. THE TIMING AND TRACK OF THESE SYSTEMS MAY CHANGE AS NEW DATA ARE ANALYZED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS. PEOPLE, INCLUDING LOCAL OFFICIALS, EMERGENCY MANAGERS, AND ANYONE WITH TRAVEL PLANS NEXT WEEK, SHOULD CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE FORECASTS FOR FURTHER STATEMENTS.

 

Looks like this Winter might be pure-win for both sides. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

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