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 Tuesday (6/3) Northern CA surf was effectively flat and windy. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were near flat and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh high and blown out. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat but reasonably clean. The LA Area southward to Orange County was thigh high on the sets and textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were flat and textured. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest high and clean. The East Shore was flat.
North/Central California was seeing no swell of interest. Southern California was seeing no swell either. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The East Shore was flat. The South Shore was seeing well rideable southern hemi background swell, the best of anywhere in our normal forecast lineup unless your in Tahiti, were real swell is hitting and pushing north towards us.
The remnants of Typhoon Nakri are pushing off Japan and are to try and rebuild just east of the dateline late Friday, but sputter and die before anything of interest results. Better potential along the US West Coast is associated with a persist long-lived run of chopped local windswell in the moderate range starting Wednesday/Thursday peaking early weekend then hanging on till at least the middle of next week. Trades are in the forecast for the Hawaiian Islands by Wednesday possibly setting up windswell on the East Shore and building into the weekend, then fading early next week. But better odds still are focused looking south. A storm built under New Zealand Thurs/Fri (5/30) with 36 ft seas for a day with a bigger one right behind it Sat/Sun (6/1) with 38 ft seas over a moderate area. Swell is in the water and pushing north towards Hawaii first and California beyond. And a series of 2 more moderate swell producers are on tap for later this week. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (6/3) for the North Pacific depicted a cohesive and moderate strength flow pushing off Japan dipping slightly over the dateline then riding some as it pushed into the Gulf of Alaska with winds 130-150 kts. No real support indicated for development of surface level low pressure. Over the next 72 hours most of that energy is to push east into the US West Coast leaving a weak flow behind over the greater North Pacific. Beyond 72 hours a bit of a ridge is to persist off the US West Coast with no organized flow from Hawaii westward and wind below the 50 kt mark. Summer has completely arrived.
At the surface today moderate high pressure at 1028 mbs was mid-way between Hawaii and San Francisco ridging gently into the US West coast and generating a mild northerly wind flow there. Trades remained suppressed over the Hawaiian Islands, though moving a bit more than weeks previous. Over the next 72 hours a low pressure system is to build off Canada moving onshore quickly on late Thursday while high pressure continues building between Hawaii and California while nudging eastward generating up to 30 kt northerly winds off Pt Conception Wednesday then expanding northward becoming centered off Cape Mendocino Fri/Sat with north winds to 35 kts there, generating moderate period windswell. Trades to start building off the south side of this high too pushing into the Hawaiian Islands Wed/Thurs peaking at 20-25 kts Sat/Sun (6/8).
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (6/3) high pressure at 1028 mbs was trying to get control of nearshore waters generating north winds at 15 kts early and up to 20 kts late afternoon from Cape Mendocino south to off Central the Baja coast. By Wednesday the high is to get better legs with 30-35 kt winds forecast off Pt Conception and fetch building northward, reaching 30 kts off Pt Arena late. Windswell and chop in effect. Thursday the core of the gradient is to move to Cape Mendocino and falter slightly, then rebuild Friday with 25-30 kt north winds covering the entire coast save protected locations in Southern CA, continuing Saturday with winds up to 35 kts. Quite a mess. By Sunday 30-35 kts winds to be focused more on Cape Mendocino continuing to generate large raw windswell, then fading to the 25 kt range Monday but holding into early Wednesday (6/11). Windswell and chop continuing.
No tropical systems of interest were occurring.
The remnants of Typhoon Nakri were pushing east just off the coast of Japan and were fading. But this early season re-curvature of this storm and a few before it is of most interest, possibly providing some signs of what's to come late Summer/early Fall if the ENSO pattern develops as hoped for (see MJO update below).
On Tuesday (6/3) the jetstream over the South Pacific was getting pretty well organized, with a split flow pushing over Australia then the southern branch pushed north merging with the northern branch over New Zealand. Wind speeds remained weak in the 80-90 kt range offering no real support for surface level development, but the configuration was moving into the right position. Over the next 72 hours this same set-up is to persist, but with stronger winds building in. A 130 kt pulses is expected to push north under New Zealand Thursday (6/5) offering a bit more hope for low pressure development at the oceans surface. Beyond 72 hrs a stronger 160 kt northward tracking pulse is expected late Friday and another of equal velocity on Sunday (6/8), continuing the favorable trend in the lower levels of the atmosphere.
At the oceans surface a more active pattern was present with multiple fetch areas with winds in the 35-40 kt range tracking from under New Zealand gently north but mostly east. None of these were producing seas in excess of 26 ft and were therefore not if interest directly, though some degree of background 13-14 secs period swell is certainly being generated for island locations of the South Pacific. Over the next 72 hours the improving jetstream flow is to start having an impact at the lower levels of the atmosphere. By Thursday (6/5) a 952 mbs storm is to pass under New Zealand with a broad area of 45-50 kt west to southwest winds at 55S 165E-180W then quickly fading but not before generating 42 ft seas at 55S 175E fading from 36 ft Friday AM at 55S 175W (moving into the Tahitian swell shadow). But a second fetch of 55 kt southwest winds are to push from under New Zealand at 52S 170E in the AM to 53S 173W in the evening generating a solid area of 38 ft seas at 52S 180W Friday PM and up to near 45 ft over a small area Saturday AM (6/7) at 53S 165W (but again moving into the core of the swell shadow relative to CA). This fetch to fade while sinking southeast Saturday, with seas going down with it. Still, the net result could be another round of sizeable swell for Tahiti and Hawaii and less for California.
First New Zealand Storm
A moderate gale pushed under New Zealand late Wed (5/28) with pressure at 944 mbs and 45- 50 kt west winds at 60S 165E pushing to 180W Thursday AM and generating 36 ft seas at 58S 170E Thursday AM (5/29). The Jason-1 satellite passed over the fetch at 18Z and 00Z confirming seas at 33.3/33.8 ft at 59S 172E with peak reading to 35/37 ft, consistent with the wave models. This fetch was just barely free and clear of the Tahitian swell shadow relative to California and moving eastward into it. A little secondary fetch continued pushing more to the northeast in the 40 kt range holding through Thursday evening keeping seas in the 35 ft range at 55S 178W. 32 ft seas were modeled Fri AM at 58S 174W. This should be enough to produce decent swell up into Tahiti and Hawaii with period at 18 secs (starting late on 6/6 in Hawaii) with background energy moving into California by late in the weekend (6/8).
In Hawaii swell to hit late Friday (6/6) (after sunset) and peak at 2.6-3.0 ft @ 18 secs (4.5-5.5 ft faces - top spots to 6.5 ft) during the day on Saturday (6/7) fading to 3 ft @ 15-16 secs Sunday (4.5-5.0 ft faces) on Sunday (6/8). Swell 2.3-2.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.5 ft faces) Monday (6/9). Swell Direction: 188 degrees.
Swell to push into California Sunday (6/8) reaching 2 ft @ 18 secs late (3.5 ft faces) and building to 2.3-2.6 ft @ 17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) Monday (6/9) and 2.6-3.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Tuesday (6/10).Swell Direction 200-205 degrees
Second New Zealand Storm
Of more interest is another 956 mb storm that followed behind Friday evening (5/30) generating 50-55 kt southwest winds over a small area at 60S 170E building to 65-70 kts Saturday AM at 60S 178W and still aimed well to the northeast, if not moving pretty fast to the east. 35 ft seas were modeled for the area Saturday AM at 58S 180W building to 38 ft at 55S 168W in the evening with 50 kt winds still in-play. The Jason-1 satellite passed over this area at 0Z Sun and confirmed seas of 38.5 ft with a peak reading of 41.3 ft at 52.2 S 168.5W. Unfortunately this swell was shadowed by Tahiti relative to California. 35 ft seas continued Sunday AM at 52S 160W. Varying degrees off 40-45 kt winds are forecast to continue pushing east across the Pacific Monday (6/2) and seas holding in the 30-32 ft range to 50S 145W.
Another solid utility class pulse of swell could result for Hawaii by Sun 6/8 with lesser energy for the
Swell to hit the California Monday 6/9 building to 2 ft @ 18 secs (3.5 ft faces). Swell to peak Tuesday (6/10) at 2.6 ft @ 16 secs (4 ft faces) coming from 200 degrees.
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 no marco level swell producing weather systems are forecast.
Madden-Julian Oscillation/El Nino Note: The MJO is essentially dead with just the last remnants of the active phase left hanging over the far eastern equatorial Pacific. Interestingly daily SOI values are still negative as of 6/1 at -18 (still waiting for readings though 6/3). This makes it 16 days in a row in the negative range (2 of those days had a 0 and +2 reading) with the larger 30 day trend now at --3.9. The 90 day trend is dropping quickly too, down from +20 in April to +3.6 as of today and falling. This is the first time the 30 day average has been less than 0 since July of 2007, when it was coming out of the weak 2006 El Nino. The last stretch of anomalous 850 mb westerly winds were pushing over CEntral America and are to be gone by 6/4, signaling the end of the active phase with stronger easterly winds trying to build over the Philippines. But the inactive phase is suggested to remain weak and fading out by June 14th. No significant support for low pressure development in the North Pacific likely during the inactive phase. But of more interest is to see if the MJO helps to start eliminating cool waters associated with La Nina out of the central equatorial Pacific, possibly opening the door a little towards at least a neutral pattern, or with luck, El Nino. Warm surface water has started building up off Central America, a good sign. And even better is the subsurface configuration. For the past year all subsurface warm waters have been pooled up in the far western equatorial Pacific with no Kelvin Wave Activity occurring to help it track east, and cold water under the Central Pacific blocking any eastward progress. As of this week we're seeing the first signs of that pattern breaking down. A channel of normal subsurface water temps now extends from the west to east Pacific with 3 deg C waters in the west and again in the east and what looks like a path for the western waters to push east. Surface winds are neutral not helping to push the flow eastward. What we need is another strong pulse of the MJO to help push things along. According to recent observations, the active phase of the MJO is starting to take shape in the Indian Ocean as of 5/30 and expected to push into exposed waters of the equatorial PAcific on 6/19. This will be a pulse worth watching to see if it contributes to a possible El Nino. Historically this is the right time of year for such an event to occur. now that were out of the Springtime predictability barrier. And average of all available long range ENSO models suggest neutral conditions to prevail.
Beyond 72 hrs a second fetch of 55 kt southwest winds are to push from under New Zealand Friday AM (6/6) at 52S 170E to 53S 173W in the evening generating a solid area of 38 ft seas at 52S 180W (Friday PM) and up to near 45 ft over a small area Saturday AM (6/7) at 53S 165W (but again moving into the core of the swell shadow relative to CA). This fetch to fade while sinking southeast Saturday, with seas going down with it. Still, the net result could be another round of sizeable swell for Tahiti and Hawaii and less for California.
No other swell producing systems 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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Surfrider's General Meeting: The San Mateo County Chapter is holding a General Public Meeting on June 12th at the Montara Lighthouse. Meet the SMC Chapter leaders and other like-minded activists, and learn more about how you can get involved in our current activities and campaigns. Then listen to an interesting talk by Mark Hylkema, a State archaeologist with 28 years' experience in California archeology and Native American culture. Mark has interacted with many different tribal communities, particularly in central and northern California. In 1994, he discovered a crescent of stone during an excavation in a cypress forest at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The 5700-year-old rock is believed to have been used by early Native Americans and is the oldest artifact discovered in San Mateo County.
Doors open at 7, meeting begins at 7:30. The Lighthouse is at 16th Street and Highway 1 in Montara. Parking is limited, so please carpool if possible and park in the upper lot (nearest to Hwy 1). For more information, visit surfridersmc.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Time Zone Converter - Finally! 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
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. 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
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/
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