On Thursday (1/18) Northern CA surf was 1.5 times overhead and clean but a bit confused. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest high with some bigger sets. Central California surf was chest high too. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were thigh high and clean at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County had thigh high sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was 2 ft overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore had head high windswell.
North California was getting a mix of dateline energy and local windswell making for rather mixed up waves and only a small portion of that was working it's way into exposed breaks in Southern CA. Hawaii was on the front edge of projected rather long run of moderate surf. But of more interest is that the models are starting to wake up a little bit with two storms projected over the coming week. The first to be a rather moderate one forming on the dateline late in the weekend pushing east and targeting California with potential decent energy while rather solid sideband energy makes a shortlived push towards Hawaii. And beyond that mid-next week a certified solid storm is projected pushing east over the dateline bound for the Gulf along a rather southern route. All this is just projections, but is consistent with symptoms of the active phase of the Madden-Julian Oscillation pushing east into the Pacific. Such meteorology suggests there should be more storm activity behind these two as well. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Thursdays jetstream charts (1/18) depicted a moderate reasonably consolidated flow pushing flat off Japan along the 35N latitude reaching as far east as a point north of Hawaii with winds to 170 kts but confined to the area just east of Japan. Lesser winds and a near split in the jet occurred on the dateline, then the jet became a bit more cohesive north of Hawaii. As usual a big split was over the far Eastern Pacific with the two ends pushing into British Columbia and Baja with a bit of a backdoor trough continuing to filter cold air over Central CA. No defined troughs were present over the open Pacific so generally weak to moderate support for gale development was confined to the area from Japan to the dateline and a bit east of there. Over the next 72 hours the pocket of energy over Japan is to track east with a bit of a trough setting up north of Hawaii. In all a good solid cohesive flow expected from Japan to a point north of Hawaii with winds Sunday there still to 170 kts providing decent support for storm development down at surface levels. the split over the East Pacific to hold if not become more exaggerated. Beyond 72 hours more of the same is forecast with a new pocket of energy pushing off Japan tracking east and another mild trough setting up over the dateline an points just east of there mid-next week. In all a reasonably productive and stable storm pattern suggested at the surface.
At the surface today strong high pressure at 1032 mbs remain centered 700 nmiles off the coast of Pt Conception, nestled between the split jetstream flow aloft and providing a solid blockade to eastward moving weather systems. It was also ridging southwest over Hawaii providing limited protection there as well. Weak gale energy was in the northern Gulf of Alaska associated with generic low pressure there while another weak low tried to organize on the dateline. But in all, no real swell producing fetch was suggested. Swell from a gale on the dateline earlier in the week was providing surf for Hawaii and pushing towards the California coast for the weekend. Over the next 72 hours the dateline low to get marginally better organized Friday (1/19) providing 18 hours of 40 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii from 35N 180W and generating seas up to 25 ft by early Saturday AM, but this to vaporize quickly with only a very modest pulse of 13 sec energy pushing towards the Islands.
Possible Storm #12 (Hawaii) (updated Fri PM)
Of more interest is the projected development of a small storm just west of the dateline Saturday evening (1/20) with pressure 996 mbs and winds to 45 kts over a small area at 38N 176E targeting Hawaii up the 310 degree path. Winds on the increase quickly after that to 55 kts. Seas modeled 23 ft at 38N 175E.
By Sunday AM pressure to drop to 992 mbs with winds holding at 50-55 kts at 37N 175W again targeting Hawaii down the 319 degree path and 40 degrees south of the 285 degree path to NCal (292 SCal). Seas forecast to 29 ft at 37N 179W. In the evening pressure holding with winds still 55 kts perhaps expanding in coverage at 38N 172W taking aim a bit more to the east targeting Hawaii down the 325 degree path but aimed about 30 degrees east of there and 30 degrees south of the 287 degree path to NCal (293 SCal) with seas to 37 ft at 38N 174W.
By Monday AM (1/22) pressure to be 988 mbs with the storm still tracking east but fading. Winds projected at 45 kts at 36N 167W targeting Hawaii almost directly down the 331 degree path but starting to make overtures towards California up the 25 degrees south of the 287 degree path (290 SCal). Seas to 38 ft at 37N 168W. In the evening a residual fetch of 40 kt wind is forecast at 34N 163W aimed 35 degrees east of Hawaii down the 345 degree path and 35 degrees south of the 278 degree path to North CA (285 SCal) with 37 ft seas pushing east-southeast from 34N 164W.
This system to be effectively beyond Hawaii by Tuesday AM with a small area of 40 kt winds holding at 34N 155W aimed 40 degrees south of the 273 degree path to NCal (287 SCal). Seas modeled at 35 ft at 34N 158W. This one to be gone by nightfall.
This is not to be a remarkable storm, but is to have a little punch, especially considering what else is occurring in the North Pacific (nothing). Hawaii is focused to get even more of the energy from this storm than previous model runs, with the storm track now more to the south and no decent energy forecast to push up any great circle path to the mainland. This is a significant change from previous model runs. Given this storms projected close track to the Islands and the rather small fetch, Hawaii is likely to get the most size by a long shot. And the fact that the storm is to be rather far from the mainland with most energy following tracks southeast of there, California will likely suffer, though the southern track might help push comparatively more energy into South California, more than any other system so far this season. But as always, this is just a projection subject to major revision as we get closer to it actually forming.
2nd Gulf Gale
On Sunday (1/14) the next gale organized while tracking northeast to the dateline providing a sweep of 40-45 kts winds over a small area aimed towards Hawaii up the 305-315 degree path with seas 23-25 ft over a small area near 37N 172E. This system got a little bit better organized Monday lifting north over the dateline with pressure 976 mbs and winds 40-45 kts over a tiny area at 42N 180W, fading late. These winds were aimed towards NCal up the 297 degree path generating near 30 ft seas at 43N 177W with only sideband energy towards Hawaii. Additional 35 kt winds followed Tuesday and expected to continue at 30-35 kts through early Thursday in the area near 44N 177W aimed east towards the Pacific Northwest and up the 300-303 degree path to NCal. Seas generating to 27 ft near 45N 170W. In all this one ought to be good for Hawaiian swell of 5.6 ft @ 13 sec (6-7 ft faces) on Thursday (1/18) and Friday from 316 degrees. Equally small swell expected for North CA Saturday (1/20) at 4.7 ft @ 14 secs (6.0-6.5 ft faces) fading Sunday from 297-300 degrees and arriving in Southern California mid-day Saturday (1/20) at 2 ft @ 15 secs (3 ft faces) continuing at 13 secs into Sunday from 300-305 degrees.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Thursday (1/18) strong high pressure at 1034 mbs remained sitting 650 nmiles due west of Point Conception and ridging into Oregon, providing a barrier to any eastward bound moisture. The high is to actually sag a bit south on Friday and then make another push in towards Oregon on Sunday but not before setting up a pressure gradient off Central California Sat/Sun with up to 30 kt north winds forecast centered just off San Francisco (late Saturday). Looks like copious windswell to be in the mix then into Sunday. The high to finally be ridging inland over Oregon setting up offshore's for Central and North CA Monday continuing through late in the workweek. Southern Ca to mostly unaffected by the balance of this weather system tough with generally light winds through the period.
At the surface and through the next 72 hours there were no indications of any swell producing fetch in the South Pacific.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Updated Fri PM
Beyond 72 hours on Tuesday (1/23) a new system is modeled to develop from moisture streaming north from the equator off just Japan tracking east. But like it's predecessor, this one too is not looking as favorable as previously suggested. A circulation of 40-45 kt winds is forecast through the day in the storms south quadrant pushing over the dateline late with seas 29 ft, then strengthening Wednesday in the far Western Gulf of Alaska with pressure 968 mbs and 55-60 kts winds and 35-39 ft seas aimed east towards the mainland up the 295 degree track. This one to fade fast in the Gulf on Thursday as a secondary system steals all it's energy and swings far to the north into Alaska. Most energy currently indicated to be pushing due east providing solid sideband energy into Hawaii and longer period energy towards California, but from a much more distant location, ensuring lot's of swell decay. In all it looks reasonable, but nothing really eye opening. We'll see what actually happens.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is indicated.
Details to follow...
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High Noon and Low Tide: Eric Nelson has remastered this epic Mavericks documentary covering a week of giant surf leading up to that fateful day of 12/23/94 when we lost Mark Foo. See all the footage with archived and recent interviews of all the best riders including Grant Washburn, Doc Renneker, Evan Slater, Peter Mel and more. This is a must-have piece for any serious Maverick collection. Available at local surfshops. Will be coming to an on-line store shortly.
El Nino Forecast Updated: El Nino is making it's mark on the Pacific Ocean, though yet to have a major impact on the atmosphere above. Read when the storm machine might fire up, and what evidence is stacking up in favor of El Nino here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/enso/current.shtml
New Precipitation Models: Over the holidays we focused on expanding our coverage of precipitation models, and now provide high resolution coverage of all US coastal locations. You can now tell whether it will be raining when the surf is pumping, or better yet, know whether it will be snowing in the higher elevations (West Coast). Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wx.html
Weather Model Problem: The past few days the 12Z run of the GFS model has been corrupted when posted on government servers, resulting in our graphic output looking like psychedelic gibberish. This is not a Stormsurf problem and we are switching over to backup servers that are operating normally to capture the data. We have reported the problem to NOAA. This problem has been confirmed by other server users as well. We apologize for the inconvenience. Update: The problem has been fixed. Service has returned to normal as of 11/25/06.
Jason-1 Satellite Problem: On Oct 31 the Jason-1 satellite automatically went into safe-hold mode. This is triggered when sensors on the satellite detect an anomaly that suggests the satellite is in danger. It goes into a type of hibernation to protect it's sensitive instruments. JPL has been working on the issue and was able to restore the satellite to normal operations at 8:30 PM on Friday 11/17. No new data is available yet, but as soon as it is we'll be publishing it over the wave models images as usual here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_alt.html
Note: The first bit of fresh data was posted on 11/29/06 and we're processing it right now.
New Book: Inside Mavericks - Portrait of a Monster Wave: Ace photographer Doug Acton, cinematographer Grant Washburn and San Francisco Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins have teamed up to present an insiders view of Mavericks. Read all the first hand accounts from Peter Mel, Ken 'Skin Dog' Collins, Grant Washburn, Mark Renniker and the rest of the gang as they describe the game of surfing one of the largest waves in the world, fully illustrated with the hauntingly artistic images from Doug Acton, long-time Mavericks lensman. There's even a section featuring Stormsurf! Get your autographed copy here: http://www.insidemavericks.com/
Towsurfers & Paddle-in Surfers - Participate in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: The draft EIR for the new Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary management plan has been released. Public comment will be accepted until January 7, 2007. The link provided has all of the information that is pertinent to anyone wishing to participate in the crafting of the new regulations. It cannot emphasize enough the importance of making your comments part of the public record as such comments will be used to re evaluate the proposed regulations before inclusion into the final EIR. This will be the public's last and best chance to shape regulations in our Monterey Bay. If you are passionate about what you do, direct that passion into active participation in this process. http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/jointplan/involved.html
Stormsurf Iceberg Breakup Analysis/Decide for Yourself: There been some debate concerning the facts around the breakup of Iceberg B15A. Here's a short exercise that helps to drive out the facts around the research: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/news/ice_wam.shtml
Stormsurf Supports Antarctic Iceberg Breakup Study: CNN is reporting the story of a storm in the Gulf of Alaska in Fall of 2005 that contributed to the breakup of Antarctic Iceberg B15A. We all know that South Pacific storms produce swells that provide surf for California in the summer, but has anyone considered the implications of what monster winter storms in the North Pacific do to the South Pacific? That is the subject of a research paper by professor Doug MacAyeal from the University of Chicago. He and his team traveled to Antarctica and instrumented a series of icebergs with seismometers to see if they could understand what causes icebergs to break up, and their findings are insightful. And best of all, Stormsurf contributed data in support of their research (and received authorship credits to boot). This is a great example of how the science of surfing interacts with other pure science disciplines. All the details are available in this months edition of 'Geophysical Research Letters' and the synopsis is available here: http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/10/02/iceberg.cracks.reut/index.html
New Stormsurf Local Wave Models: Nine months in development and testing, Stormsurf is proud to announce the release of our upgraded local wave models. More locations, more fidelity, more variables imaged including sea height, swell period, wind speed & direction, and wave height plus the older style composite images of surf height and wind all updated 4 times daily. Check them out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table