Wind Trends in San Diego

Spring in San Diego can be quite dynamic. The passage of winter storm systems continues but these winter storms become less frequent and less potent as the month of March progresses. Meanwhile, the North Pacific High begins to rebuild, resulting in some modest WNW breezes, too. Let's take a look at what you might expect at the Sperry Top-Sider San Diego NOOD.

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SailFlow San Diego

Courtesy Sailflow

Let’s take these factors one at a time beginning with late season storm systems. The approach of one of these systems often brings strong and gusty southerlies which blow right up into the San Diego Yacht Club. These winds will fill in across the San Diego Bay too albeit at a pace of a couple knots lighter. As the storm system passes by, winds will generally weaken with plenty of clouds and scattered rain showers even possible. Clearing winds mainly depend upon the North Pacific High and on how fast the upper trough exits.

The other main large-scale factor in March is the development of a healthy North Pacific High (NPH). Often you can’t count on the NPH to deliver much of a punch in the spring. Yet, every few years the NPH strengthens early. And the early indications are that this year the NPH has been strengthening early. An early strengthening of the NPH tends to bring brisker winds to San Diego. With brisker northwest winds across the southern California bight and the marine layer not yet firmly fixed overhead as it will be in May and June, the San Diego area may just be poised to see afternoon WNW winds reaching 12 to 15 knot winds fairly often. When compared with historical averages in the attached graphs, this should mean winds will reach historical averages or be slightly above average during this year’s NOOD race.

—Benjamin M. Miller, SailFlow.com Meteorologist