Needles Swell Statistics, Spring: All Swell – Any Wind
The graph shows the range of swells directed at Needles through a typical northern hemisphere spring, based on 5995 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast surf and wind right at the coast so we have chosen the best grid node based on what we know about Needles, and at Needles the best grid node is 13 km away (8 miles).
The rose diagram shows the distribution of swell sizes and directions, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing without direction information. Five colours illustrate increasing wave sizes. Blue shows the smallest swells, less that 0.5m (1.5 feet) high. These happened only 1.5% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and biggest swells greater than >3m (>10ft) are shown in red. In either graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how often that size swell was forecast.
The diagram indicates that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the largest spokes, was W, whereas the the prevailing wind blows from the WSW. Because the wave model grid is away from the coast, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Needles and out to sea. We group these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To simplify things we don't show these in the rose diagram. Because wind determines whether or not waves are surfable at Needles, you can select a similar diagram that shows only the swells that were predicted to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. Over an average northern hemisphere spring, swells large enough to cause good for surfing waves at Needles run for about 98% of the time.
IMPORTANT: Beta version feature! Swell heights are open water values from NWW3. There is no attempt to model near-shore effects. Coastal wave heights will generally be less, especially if the break does not have unobstructed exposure to the open ocean.