New Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead)
Advanced: Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Intermediate: Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft)
Impulse/Windswell: Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
On Sunday (2/10) Northern CA surf was 3 feet overhead early and jumbled by northwest winds just off the coast. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were head high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was head high to 1 ft overhead with clean. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was head high to 2 ft overhead and clean early. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high and clean. The North Shore of Oahu was 2 ft overhead and clean. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was head high at select spots getting the wrap from the northwest.
North/Central California was getting the last dribbles from Swell #16 competing with a moderate northwest wind. Southern California was getting wrap around energy from Swell #16 pushing some size into select spots. Hawaii's North Shore was getting fading energy from Swell #17. The East Shore was getting messy tradewind generated windswell. The South Shore was seasonally flat.
The jetstream flow has improved tremendously from even 3-4 days ago, and is expected to build even more in the coming week. This all bodes well for the storm machine down at the oceans surface, with 2 solid ones on the charts for the week ahead (#18 & #19) and likely more behind that. California and Hawaii are both expected to get energy from these systems, with energy even reaching down into Southern CA with some luck. So all are to share in the wealth. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (2/10) for the North Pacific depict a decent consolidate flow pushing dead flat off Japan moving over the dateline to a point just 600 nmiles north of Hawaii at 160 kts, then barely splitting with the bulk of the energy tracking northeast into the Pacific Northwest at 110 kts, and just a faint flow peeling off over HAwaii moving to the equator at 50 kts. No clear troughs were present somewhat impeding low pressure development at the oceans surface. Over the next 72 hours a strong trough is to start building on the dateline Tuesday (2/12) with 140 kt winds supporting it, pushing into the Gulf through Thursday (2/14) and then into Canada 24 hours later. Good support for surface level storm development. A weak ridge is to be protecting the Southwestern US coast. Beyond 72 hours energy is to start building in the jet back over Japan with winds 190 kts pushing to Hawaii by Saturday (2/16) with a weak trough following it moving towards the Gulf. Again, some support for surface level storm development. There's no signs of a breakdown in the pattern anytime soon, which is very good for our purposes.
At the surface today broad but ill defined low pressure, the remnants of Storm #18 was still circulating just south of the Aleutians on the dateline with a broad fetch of 25-30 kt west winds extending from Kamchatka (Siberia Coast) into the Gulf of Alaska. Seas greater than 20 ft filled this area, though most of it was generated by Storm #18 over the weekend and was now on the way down. Swell from this system is pushing south towards Hawaii and east towards the US West Coast. A new broad area of low pressure was starting to build off Japan tracking east towards the dateline and this is to become Storm #19. Otherwise weak high pressure at 1024 mbs was ridging into Oregon and Northern CA, holding the storm track at bay there. And this high was also helping to generate light trades over the Hawaiian Islands.
Over the next 72 hours Storm #19 to build and push to the Gulf of Alaska with some gusto, offering hope for both Hawaii and California (see details below). High pressure is to build off California mid-week likely kicking up the north wind machine there for a short spell, but trades over Hawaii are to remain pretty moderate.
Storm #17 (Hawaii)
A new gale started forming Wednesday PM (2/6) on the dateline producing 45-50 kt winds confirmed at 37N 178W aimed due south, missing evening Hawaii.
The gale was moving east towards the southwestern Gulf of Alaska on Thursday AM (2/7) with pressure 992 mbs and continued to produce a small area of 45-50 kts northwest winds confirmed at 37N 165W aimed almost due south or right down the 331 degree path to Hawaii and the faintest energy up the 279 degree path to North CA (285 SCal). 23 ft seas were building at 36N 173W. In the evening it's was lifting northeast with 40-45 kts winds confirmed at 41N 163W aimed 25 degrees east of the 345 degree path to Hawaii but not really at CA. 29 ft seas were modeled at 37N 165W. Surprisingly the Jason-1 satellite passed directly over the fetch on confirmed seas at 34 ft, and covering a much broader area than the models suggested (30-34 ft seas from 35-40N at 163W. This is far better than the 29 ft modeled at the time.
On Friday AM (2/8) winds to turn more to the east at 40-45 kts centered near 45N 158W aimed 10 degrees south of the 294 degree path to NCal and getting very limited traction on the oceans surface with the low at 984 mbs hanging in the Northern Gulf. Nothing aimed at Hawaii. Seas were modeled to 27 ft at 38N 155W. In the evening a tiny area of 40 kts winds remained at 48N 153W aimed east towards NCal up the 302 degree path and fading fast. A 25 ft seas were modeled at 40N 153W.
On Saturday AM (2/9) it was gone. Residual 27 ft seas were modeled at 48N 151W aimed down the 302 degree path to NCal.
If all this plays out as forecast possible tiny significant class swell could push into North CA and the Pacific Northwest Sunday Monday (2/10).
This swell hit Hawaii with significant class size on Saturday AM (2/9) producing swell of 10 ft @ 16 secs for a short window.
North CA: Expect swell arrival Sunday at 2 PM (2/10) with period 17 secs (with much luck) and size tiny but building. Swell to peak from 3-8 AM Monday at 6-7 ft @ 14-15 secs (8-10 ft faces - intermediate class). Swell Direction:281-285 degrees Confidence low in this outcome.
A new storm formed off Japan Thursday AM (2/7) with pressure 984 mbs and confirmed winds at 55-60 kts at 42N 158E aimed east towards Hawaii up the 307 degree path and towards California up the 301 degree path. By the evening pressure was down to 968 mbs and winds building to 60 kts at 42N 163E aimed right down the 311 degree path to Hawaii and up the 298 degree path to North CA (303 deg SCal). Seas were building from 23 ft.
On Friday AM (2/8) pressure was 960 mbs with the storm tracking northeast still producing 60 kts winds in it's south quadrant aimed due east from 43N 171E or aimed 20 degrees east of the 315 degree path to Hawaii and aimed right up the 299 degree path to North CA (304 SCal). 36 ft seas were modeled at 42N 168E. In the evening this one was dying fast with 40-45 kt winds persisting at 45N 174E aimed due east or 40 degrees east of the 320 degree path to Hawaii and almost right up the 298 degree path to North CA (303 SCal). Up to 42 ft seas were modeled at 44N 175E (297 deg NCal, 319 HI).
On Saturday AM (2/9) pressure rose to 968 mbs with 40 kt winds holding at 45N 170E aimed 40 degrees east of the 323 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 300 degree path to NCal (305 SCal). 38 ft seas were modeled (attributable mostly to previous fetch) at 45N 178E. In the evening it was gone. Seas faded to 30 ft at 45N 180W (298 NCal, 328 HI).
On Sunday AM (2/10) an additional low pressure moved in from the west helping to generate a small secondary fetch of 40 kt west winds on the dateline at 44N 175E aimed due east or right up the 300 degree path to NCal (306 SCal) and 35 degrees east of the 322 path to Hawaii. 30 ft seas were modeled at 44N 178E and 43N 163W. In the afternoon pressure rose to 976 mbs with 30 kt winds fading at 44N 180W, and seas fading from 28 ft in the the same place.
Moderate long period swell has been generated and is in the water steaming east and southeast bound for Hawaii and California. This in no way compares to what was generated from Storm #16, mainly because this storm system was isolated to the Western Pacific and did not make any decent headway east into the Gulf of Alaska. But given what the Pacific has been doing (other than Storm #16) this isn't too bad. And it held together pretty well, though not so cohesive towards the end of it's life. Some form of moderate sized long period significant class swell should push into Hawaii early next week and well into exposed breaks in California a few days later.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting near 11 PM Sunday (2/10) with period 22 secs and size small but building starting to peaking Monday (2/11) at 9 AM and holding through the afternoon. Swell 8-9 ft @ 17-18 secs (13-15 ft faces). Secondary swell to build in overnight mixing with the 14 sec residuals from the original pulse generated swell of 6.5-7.5 ft @ 15 secs Tuesday (2/12) (10-11 ft faces) fading to 6-7 ft @ 14 secs Wednesday (2/13) (9-10 ft faces). Swell direction 321-327 degrees.
North CA: Expect the first tiny pulse of energy to start arriving Tuesday (2/12) near 4 AM with period 21 secs and size tiny but building through the day, turning to 20 secs by 2 PM with swell 7 ft @ 20 secs (with luck) (12-14 ft faces) at that time and highly inconsistent. Swell to fade some overnight but still decent at sunrise Wednesday (2/13) with swell 7 ft @ 17 secs (11-12 ft faces), with period fading slowly through the day to 15 secs late. 14 sec energy to still be present Thursday with swell 5.8 ft @ 14 secs (8 ft faces). Swell Direction: 297-299 degrees
South CA: Expect the first tiny pulse of energy to start arriving Tuesday (2/12) near 1 PM with period 21 secs and size tiny but building overnight, turning to 20 secs by 11 PM with swell 3.2 ft @ 20 secs (6 ft faces) and very inconsistent. Swell to fade some overnight but still decent at sunrise Wednesday (2/13) with swell 3 ft @ 17-18 secs, with period fading slowly through the day to 16 secs late. 14 sec energy to still be present Thursday with swell 2.8 ft @ 14 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces). Swell Direction: 302-305 degrees
Possible Storm #19
Yet one more storm system is on the charts. This one is again to form on the dateline pushing into the Gulf of Alaska fueled by a favorable jetstream track.
On Monday AM (2/11) a 980 mb low is to start building just west of the dateline with 40 kts winds wrapping through it's southern quadrant taking aim on both HAwaii and California. By the evening it's to be crossing the dateline and building with pressure down to 972 mbs with 45 kts winds near 32N 180W aimed at Hawaii down the 305 degree path and towards California (from it's southeast quadrant) up the 279 degree path (284 Scal). Seas building from 29 ft at 32N 175E.
On Tuesday AM (2/12) pressure to be down to 960 mbs with 55-60 kts winds forecast at 37N 171W aimed towards Hawaii down the 325 degree path and towards NCal up the 283 degree path (287 SCal). 33 ft seas forecast at 36N 173W. In the evening near 60 kt winds to continue solid in the storm south quadrant aimed due east at 42N 163W mostly bypassing any route to Hawaii but aimed right at NCal up the 290 degree path (295 SCal). 39 ft seas forecast at 41N 164W.
On Wednesday AM (2/13) 55 kt winds to continue at 46N 158W aimed 15 degrees north of the 298 degree path to NCal (303 SCal). 44 ft seas forecast at 45N 158W with most momentum pushing towards Canada. In the evening fading 45 kt fetch to be pushing northeast from 48N 154W aimed 30 degrees north of the 308 degree path to NCal (totally outside the SCal window) and focusing on Canada. 46 ft seas forecast at 48N 152W.
This is forecast to be a rather intense system holding together with 55+ kt winds for 48-60 hrs. The issue is to be it's steep northeast track. It's to only offer a glancing blow to the Islands and then focus on targets well east of there before any solid fetch get's traction on the oceans surface. California to be better situated, but still the focus is to be on Canada. Significant class surf seems likely just the same for the northern reaches of the state, but given the rather westerly swell angle, Southern California might fare OK too. At this point it's all a forecast and nothing is certain till it actually forms.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
As of Sunday (2/10) weak high pressure at 1026 mbs was ridging inland over Oregon generating a weak pressure gradient along the North and Central CA coasts producing northerly winds at 15 kts, though Southern CA remain protected. No significant change is forecast Monday or Tuesday, though northerly winds to be building in areal coverage off the coast during that time as high pressure builds in size and strength, perhaps imparting a bit of lump to whatever swell is coming in during that time. Finally late Tuesday in the Wednesday the high is to hit the coast with pressure 1032 mbs and brisk north winds at 30 kts forecast off Cape Mendocino south to Monterey Bay forming a summer-like fetch, with sizeable short-period windswell the likely result. Again Southern CA to be mostly protected from the bulk of this. Fortunately it's to all break down on Thursday with very light offshore winds expected through Saturday, maybe turning a tad to the north on Sunday (2/17).
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
No swell producing systems of interest forecast.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hrs yet another lumbering system is forecast developing off Japan on Thursday (2/14) moving slowly east and across the dateline to at least a point north of Hawaii by Sunday (2/17) generating 30-35 ft seas focused mainly on the lower end of that scale, but moving close to both Hawaii and California offering hope for solid swell for both, though period to be in the middle ground since winds are to not exceed 35 kts in this one. This could be Storm #20. And yet another is possible behind that by Monday (2/18) off Japan. Nice pattern for a La Nina year.
MJO Note: The active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation was pushing over the Philippines and New Guinea area on Saturday (2/9) expected to seep east over the equatorial Pacific through the end of the month, likely helping to fuel some degree of limited storm development through the period. In fact, Storm #16 was like the first product of the movement towards this pattern.
No swell producing systems of interst are forecast.
Details to follow...
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Half Moon Bay Surfers - Attention: There¹s a movement afoot to dredge sand out of the Pillar Point (i.e. Half Moon Bay) Harbor and dump it just south of the jetty, so it will replenish all sand that¹s disappeared between the harbor and HMB and also, they hope, create a Kirra-style sandbar next to the jetty. The guy who¹s spearheading the project, Brian Overfelt, has already received a positive preliminary reading from the local harbor commissioners. He¹s making a formal presentation to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary¹s advisory council this coming Friday (2/15) at Our Lady of Pillar church in Half Moon Bay. (It's on Kelly Ave, just east of the Coast Highway, across the street from Cunha Intermediate School.) starting at 9 AM. More details here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/forecast/forecast/hmb_dredge.html
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Grib File Switchover: The old grib1 format wave model datafiles that have been the mainstay of the National Weather service for years now are scheduled to be retired on 1/26. We switched over to the new grib2 files starting with the 00z run of Thurs 1/17. All appears to be running fine. There is no functional change to the content of the models, just that files we receive are now smaller due to improved compression of grib2. But this sets us up to start processing new higher resolution files and building new products in the months ahead. So in all it's a good maintenance level change.
Sharkwater: There's a new feature film called Sharkwater that is hitting theaters November 2nd. Sharkwater is an award winning documentary (22 international film awards including the UN and Cannes) that broke box office records in Canada, opening to bigger numbers than any documentary in history save Fahrenheit 911 and Supersize Me. It is a conservation film that demonstrates that the biggest influence on the air we breathe, and global warming is life in the oceans – except life in the oceans is being wiped out. Shark populations have dropped 90% in the last 30 years alone, and the oceans continue to be destroyed because nobody knows that it's happening Learn more here: http://www.sharkwater.com
Bluewater Gold Rush: The first and only chronicle of the California sea urchin dive fishery. Diving, surfing, comedy, and tragedy on and under the waves of California. "A quintessential tale of California ... dramas of adventure and loss on and under the sea" We read it and it's a great story about the bloom of the urchin diving boom in the 70's and the few lucky souls who were right there when it took off. An easy read that's hard to put down. The trials and success of a 'real' California dream right down to it's core. Check it out here: http://www.bluewatergoldrush.com
Submit your story to 'Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Vol. 2': DEADLINE: January 15th, 2008 Casagrande Press is seeking stories, articles, and essays on the general subject of surfing misadventure for publication in Surfings Greatest Misadventures: Volume 2. We are looking for nonfiction, first-person surf stories of bad judgment calls, pranks, comical/ironic episodes, disaster, attacking predators, misfortune, injury, loss of wit or limb, panic, critical conditions, contest meltdowns, everyday fears, surf trips gone wrong or the out-of-water episodes that surround surfing. We are looking for well-written stories that tell a good tale, reflect a culture, and develop the depth of the characters involved. We also like stories that have a tight narrative tension and a payoff at the end. Open to writers and surfers of any level. There is no fee to submit a story. We will consider previously published stories. To see more info on the first book visit www.thesurfbook.com. Submit online at www.casagrandepress.com
Waveriders Gallery: Check out this collection of high quality artwork all related to waves and the ocean. Surf Paintings, Photography, Posters, Books, Boards and exhibits all produced by a variety of top artists provide a beautiful selection of pieces to chose from. Take and look and see some of the stunning work available from these artists. http://www.waveridersgallery.net/
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table