San Diego’s unusually long spell of heavy surf to last through Tuesday

Big waves will continue to hit San Diego through Tuesday
Big waves will continue to hit San Diego through Tuesday
(Gary Robbins / The San Diego Union-Tribune )

The big surf that San Diego County beaches have been getting for nearly two weeks will last at least into Tuesday due to a new series of storms that are rolling across the North Pacific like box cars, according to the National Weather Service.

“There’s a storm in the Gulf of Alaska, another south of the Aleutians and more beyond that,” said Phil Gonsalves, a weather service forecaster. “They’re lined up and are going to send waves to Southern California.”

It’s common for San Diego to get powerful waves in the winter. But the persistence of the surf is a bit unusual. Some spots have gotten waves measuring four feet or higher almost every day since New Years. And there has been a lot of surf in the six- to 10-foot range, especially south of Torrey Pines.

A high-surf advisory will be in effect until 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

The weather pattern has given surfers a reason to rejoice. But it isn’t making firefighters happy. The storms have largely been tracking into Oregon and Washington, rather than dropping south. San Diego International Airport has recorded only 0.98 inches of rain since October 1, which is about three inches below average.

The lack of rain has caused vegetation to wither, feeding the sort of wildfire that broke out on Thursday on the grounds of Palomar College in San Marcos. The weather also has been warmer than normal. Three communities set or tied new records on Thursday, including Vista, where it hit 89, one degree above the record for Jan. 14, set in 2014. El Cajon also reached 89, beating the record set in 2009 by one degree. And Chula Vista got to 83, tying the record set in 2009.

San Diego International Airport topped out at 81, which was 16 degrees above normal. National City, Miramar and Montgomery Field all reached 86, and Brown Field hit 87.

Similar temperatures are expected on Friday, including in San Diego, where the mercury will be 70 or above for the seventh straight day.

Forecasters also say that weak Santa Ana winds will flicker through the county’s mountains and foothills on Friday morning, and again on Saturday. The weather service further says that Southern California might be hit by potentially damaging Santa Ana winds on Monday and Tuesday.