New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
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 Tuesday (3/3) North and Central California had wind whipped stormsurf coming from a gale just off the coast in the 2-3 ft overhead range and unrideable. Southern California was getting some of this same swell with waves waist to chest high and textured, but rideable. Hawaii's North Shore was getting and northeast windswell coming from high pressure north of the Islands. Waves were chest to head high, maybe with a few larger sets and sideshore texture. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was 1-2 ft overhead coming from the same high pressure system as the North Shore, with windy local conditions and chopped.
For Central California north swell is hitting the outer buoys with a fraction of that energy expected to push into the coast overnight, possibly setting up better size for Wednesday. But pesky south winds to remain an issue, lightest early and coming up through the day then continuing into Thursday. Seek a protected north facing break for best odds of decent surf. Southern California to see some of that same northwest swell Wednesday, fading after that. Southeast winds to be building and turning more south as the day progresses, likely tearing things up. The North Shore of Hawaii is to see the last pulse of energy from the combination of high pressure north of the Islands and low pressure off California, with that pulse hitting Wednesday then heading down Thursday and gone by Friday. The South Shore of Hawaii remains in hibernation for the winter. The East Shore is expecting to see the same northeast swell pulse on Wednesday before dropping out with short period east windswell to follow.
Longterm very strong high pressure is to be moving into the Gulf of Alaska and firming up it's grip at 1044 mbs, virtually locking down the Eastern Pacific for at least the next week. Only one short lived gale is scheduled for the West Pacific, this weekend with most of it's energy aimed at Hawaii. Springtime is definitely in the waiting in the wings.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday (3/3) the North
Pacific jetstream was pushing off Japan and consolidated almost to the
dateline with a bit of a trough trying to develop providing some odds
for gale formation off the Kuril Islands while lifting
northeast. The just then split heavily on the dateline with the northern branch pushing due north into Bering Sea before dropping hard south into the far Eastern Gulf of Alaska forming a steep trough off North CA which was supported a gale off the coast there. The southern branch tracked flat over the dateline and Hawaii, then split with half it's energy syncing up with the northern branch of the jet off California, and the rest heading southeast towards the equator. In all not a favorable pattern. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (3/6) the same pattern is to hold, but with the trough off California moving inland and another trough forming off the Kuril Islands lifting northeast, likely supporting gale formation there. Beyond 72 hrs energy levels are to drop across the width of the jet with the split point shifting back west towards Japan leaving two weak flat flows pushing parallel across the North Pacific with no troughs indicated. High pressure is the likely result between the split flows.
At the surface today strong high pressure at 1036 mbs remained locked 900 nmiles north of Hawaii ridging north into the Bering Sea and south to Hawaii forming a virtual blockade against any gale trying to move east off Siberia. A 996 mb low was centered just off Cape Mendocino producing limited 30-35 kt north fetch and 25 ft seas pushing south parallel to the US West Coast (details below). Previous incarnations of this low interacted with high pressure north of Hawaii on Monday generating a fetch of north winds at 40 kts aimed pretty well east of the Hawaiian Islands generating seas in the 28-30 ft range. Northeast sideband swell is expected to spread south into the Islands Wednesday (3/4) at 7.3 ft @ 13 secs (9 ft faces) from 25 degrees. No other fetch was occurring in the North Pacific. Over the next 72 hours low pressure off California is to dissipate Wednesday while high pressure west of it is to start pushing into the US West Coast producing north winds and local north windswell of no particular interest. A new gale is forecast forming west of the Kuril Islands Friday and Saturday possibly generating winds and seas aimed at the Hawaiian Islands, but lifting northeast all the while limiting the winds traction on the oceans surface.
Monday AM (3/2) fetch from a gale off the Southern Oregon coast was starting to dissipate from 40 kts at 46N 137W (310 degrees NCal) with 30 ft seas from previous fetch at 43N 142W (297 NCal). Swell was pushing mostly south with sideband energy pushing towards the Central and South CA coasts. In the evening yet more 40 kt fetch was building way up north at 48N 136W with residual 30-35 kt fetch south at 37N 138W aimed at Southern CA down the 290 degree path. 30 ft seas were modeled at 40N 140W aimed down the 296 degree path to Southern CA and mostly bypassing the 292 degree path to Central CA.
Tuesday AM (3/3) one last little patch of 40 kt northwest fetch was building at 47N 135W aimed well down the 315 degree path to NCal. 23 ft seas were modeled at 46N 135W pushing southeast. By evening 30 kt northwest winds are to be fading fast with 25 ft seas at 43N 135W, just above buoy 46006.
This has been a very local system relative to North and Central CA just 600-800 nmiles out (or less) with limited fetch aimed at the coast and most pushing due south, bypassing CA entirely. Brisk southwest winds remain forecast blowing into the coast Wednesday (maybe a break in the AM) and Thursday affecting from Pt Conception northward, so lot's of raw lump will remain in the water even if by some chance the winds back off. And even worse is that most of the fetch was aimed either well south of the Central CA coast, or for that which was aimed t the coast, it was from a rather north angle putting it in the swell shadow relative to the San Francisco Bay area. Whatever swell results will be very raw and unorganized.
The last pulse of jumbled swell should continue in San Francisco Wednesday optimistically to 9 ft @ 14 secs (12-13 ft faces) at exposed unshadowed breaks from 296-310 degrees.
Also taking an optimistic stance relative to Southern CA, expect swell on Wednesday at 3.8-4.3 ft @ 14 secs (5.3-6.0 ft faces) coming from 297-310+ degrees. But the vast majority of this is to bypass the coast.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (3/3) a gale low was 600 nmiles off the coast of South Oregon and dropping south. Brisk southwest winds and rain were impacting the Central and North CA coasts. By Wednesday (3/4) the low is to be fading fast and dissipating off Cape Mendocino but a front from this system is to be pushing south and still influencing local weather with southwest winds at 10 kts and building expected on down into Southern CA. Clearing rain in North CA but lingering precip in Central CA north of Pt Conception. South winds to continue into Thursday too with remnants of the low circulating off the coast, but northwest winds at 10 kts is expected into Southern CA as high pressure tries to ridge in there. Rain fading out. By Friday (3/6) the big high that has been out in the North Pacific is to push east into the coast with residual low pressure inland, forming a pressure gradient and generating north winds of 20 kt in San Francisco late morning pushing south through the afternoon. More 15 kt north winds expected Saturday pushing into Southern CA and building to 20 kts on Sunday as reinforcing high pressure builds in (10 kts Southern CA). North winds continuing into early next week too at 15-20 kts pushing over the Channel Islands. looks like springtime pattern is shaping up.
No tropical activity of interest was occurring.
At the oceans surface no swell producing fetch was occurring aimed at US targets. Over the next 72 hours no change is 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 hours high pressure to take over the Gulf of Alaska at 1044 mbs eliminating any odds for swell development here. A gale is forecast forming just west of the dateline late Thursday (3/5) into Friday lifting northeast with pressure 984 mbs producing 50 kt north to northwest winds in the gales west quadrant trying to wrap into it's south quadrant. Most fetch is to be aimed south of even the great circle paths to Hawaii. Additional fetch is to be in the gales southeast quadrant pushing northeast. A tiny area of seas to 35 ft are forecast Thurs PM at 38N 168E aimed a bit east of the great circle paths to Hawaii and better at the US West Coast, building to 38 ft Friday AM at 39N 175E, then fading out by evening from 32 ft at 40N 180W. Limited odds for small northwest swell for the Islands if this occurs coming from 312-319 degrees, and even smaller swell for the US West Coast from 293 degrees.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Tuesday (3/3) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was in the neutral phase. The Daily SOI index was holding at -10.58 (three days in a row and the lowest in months). The 30 day average was down to 12.37 and the 90 day average was down slightly to 10.92. The SOI indicies remained symptomatic of La Nina, though the latest run of negative numbers is interesting. Wind anomalies at the surface and the 850 mb level (approx 1000 ft up) indicated light east winds fading out over the Eastern equatorial Pacific into Central America indicative of the end of the inactive Phase of the MJO. West winds were over the Indian Ocean pushing into the far Western Pacific, indicative of the next incarnation of the Active Phase of the MJO. Beyond the east winds/Inactive Phase is to fade out by 3/7 with the Active Phase/west winds starting to build in by 3/10, limping to the dateline by 3/15, then slowly fading there through at least 3/22. This suggests there is to be no help for the storm track for the next weeks and then after that, only marginal additional support for gale development. La Nina remains well in-control but appears to be finally be fading.
No swell producing fetch forecast for the next 7 days.
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
Add a STORMSURF Buoy Forecast to your Google Homepage. Click Here:
Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location
Wave Model Upgrade Status Report: At this point we believe the installation of the new wave models is complete, with no problems being reported, the server stabilizing and the much requested return of the old style hemispheric Surf Height models now operational (again) and running side-by-side along the new ones. We thank you for your patience and input as we went though this process. Your feedback helps guide our efforts and ultimately results in a better product for everyone. Now we're off to start providing better menus to some wave model products most of you probably haven't uncovered yet (site specific graph and text forecasts), updateing the wave model FAQs and then upgrading the Weather Models.
New Wave Model Facts: Click HERE to read more about the new wave models. Important info.
Stormsurf Wave Models Updated: On Friday (2/6) we installed the latest upgrade to our wavemodels. A year in the works, this upgrade essentially is a total re-write of every wave model product we produce. They now take advantage of the new Version 3 of the Wavewatch wavemodel. This version runs at a much higher resolution, specifically 0.0 X 0.5 degrees for the global grib with local products at 0.1667 X 0.1667 degrees, and it uses the hi-res GFS model for wind speeds. And of even more interest, the model now identifies primary swell and windwave variables. As such we now have new model images which displays this data. Also we've included out special 3D topographic land masks into all models. In all it makes for a radical step forward in wave model technology. We'll be upgrading minor components (FAQ, new menu pages etc) for a few weeks to come, but all the basics are available for your use now. Check it out here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html
Story About Stormsurf: The folks at SurfPulse (and specifically author Mike Wallace) have written up a really nice article about Stormsurf, complete with some good pics. Learn about how we came to be and a little of where we are going. Check it out here: http://www.surfpulse.com/2009/01/visceral-surf-forecasting-with-mark-sponsler/
Help Out a Fellow Mavericks Surfer: Our friend Christy Davis is going through some tough times. His 14 year old daughter has been diagnosed with leukemia and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy. The prognosis is good but we'd all like to help him out with medical expenses not covered by insurance. If you would like to donate, send an email to us here or send it to Christy directly at: Chris Davis PO Box 628 Moss Beach, CA 94038
Swell #2 Mavericks Videos from Powerlines Productions: Check out the action on both Saturday and Sunday (11/30) from that massive swell of 12-13 ft @ 25 secs. Filmed by Curt Myers and Eric Nelson. Really thick! See this and more plus the movie Ride-On 12/11 at the Old Princeton Landing or the Red Vic Moviehouse in San Francisco 12/19-23. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tA57cIBkA0o & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37SCR9kDm60
Stormsurf Video: Just for fun - here's a clip about Stormsurf that ran on Bay Area TV a while back. Thought you might enjoy it: http://vimeo.com/2319455
Pictures from Swell #1 - The first real significant class swell of the season produced a bit of action at Mavericks. See pictures here http://www.mavsurfer.com
Big Surf Up North - the First swell of the Fall 2008/2009 season brought a few large raw waves to the North CA Coast. Check out the details here: http://www.towsurfer.com/default.asp
The Kelly Slater Project - A group of dedicated surfers from Cocoa Beach are working to construct a statue of the the home town legend and set it up for all to enjoy near the break where Kelly grew up surfing. Take a look at the statue and read all about it here: http://www.thekellyslaterproject.com/
STORMSURF Local Wave Models Upgraded - We significantly upgraded the local waves models on Sunday (6/8). All now utilize our newly developed high-resolution 3D shaded relief topography for mapping landmasses. Coastlines are now accurate down to the individual pixel providing near photographic realism. Mountains and hills are all shaded and accurate to within the same single pixel specification. Cities are overlaid as before, but now we've added major highways and rivers too (for many locations). Some good examples of this new technology can be viewed here:
- View the reefs north of Tahiti and notice their contribution to the 'Swell Shadow' relative to California - Tahiti
- Notice the detail of the coast in and around Vancouver Islands and Washington State - Pacific Northwest
- See the details of inland waterways of the US Northeast Coast - Virginia
- Details of the Mentawai Island and Nias
And all the local models can be found either on our homepage or from the wavemodel page (bottom half of the page).
Time Zone Converter By popular demand we've built and easy to use time convert that transposes GMT time to whatever time zone you are located. It's ion left hand column on every page on the site near the link to the swell calculator.
Mavericks Contest 2008: View all the action from the 2008 Maverick Surf Contest from Powelines Productions here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o5lj9CUpCc
Need Chiropractic Help? Visit our friends at Darrow Chiropractic. Not only will Dr. Darrow fix you up, he might give you some big wave surfing tips too! See more here: http://www.darrowchiropractic.com/
Stormsurf Google Gadget - Want Stormsurf content on your Google Homepage? It's simple and free. If you have Google set as your default Internet Explorer Homepage, just click the link below and a buoy forecast will be added to your Google homepage. Defaults to Half Moon Bay CA. If you want to select a different location, just click on the word 'edit', and a list of alternate available locations appears. Pick the one of your choice. Content updates 4 times daily. A great way to see what waves are coming your way!
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table