Año Nuevo clearing sets the stage for winds to the south.
by Mike Godsey, mike AT iwindsurf.com
If you only sail inside the bay the frequent appearance of the phrase “Año Nuevo clearing” may see very cryptic. But is you kite or sail the coast from Waddell south that phrase sets your heart pounding.
Most years Waddell is a wind machine. There is no site in the Bay Area that has so many factors that encourage strong winds at that locale and points to the south. Among these factors are:
- The North Pacific High’s surface NW winds
- The pressure gradient to the Salinas Valley.
- The pressure gradient to the Hollister area
- The pressure gradient to the Central Valley through Pacheco Pass
- The venturi effect along the ridges behind Waddell
- The temperature gradient between the cool foggy air north of Año Nuevo clearing and the Santa Cruz banana belt
- The supercritical flow from Año Nuevo point.
- Strong NW winds aloft.
- And rarely the coastal jet
The easiest way to tell that several of these variables are maturing in the morning is the hints of clearing in the lee of Año Nuevo point north of Waddell. Think back to your very first venture from the flat water of the Bay to try your skill in ocean waves. Leaving the Bay Area down the coast highway you encountered masses of this fog and a leaden ocean. And you may have evened turned back thinking it was just another bum forecast by Godsey. But if you kept faith you would round a curve and suddenly break into blue skies, blue water and solid white caps. You just entered the Año Nuevo clearing zone.
These days I can often forecast this occurrence even the night before and almost always at 7AM even though the whole coast is socked in. This satellite animation from yesterday Aug. 8, 2016 shows Año Nuevo clearing in action. Enjoy!