New Swell Classification Guidelines (Winter)
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead). Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft) Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft). Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs. Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
On Sunday (6/6) North and Central California had chest high windswell coming out of the Gulf of Alaska with modest northwest winds and fog early, making for barely rideable conditions at select breaks. Southern California was getting thigh high (generous estimate) wrap-around Gulf windswell up north and clean with fog early. Limited small new southern hemi swell was arriving generating sets in the waist high plus range and clean down south. Hawaii's North Shore was effectively flat and clean. The East Shore was getting knee to thigh high tradewind generated east windswell and chopped. The South Shore was flat and clean with limited wrap around east windswell pushing in at knee high and trades pretty suppressed.
The forecast for North and Central CA is for limited northwest windswell at waist high Monday with new southern hemi building in at chest high, fading from waist to chest high Tuesday while local short period northwest windswell takes over at shoulder high. Wednesday leftover southern hemi swell is to be waist high with windswell all but gone only to return on Thursday and hold Friday at 1 ft overhead. Southern California is to see southern hemi swell at chest to head high on Monday fading from chest high Tuesday (with knee high northwest windswell intermixed on Tuesday) and maybe waist high Wednesday before dissipating. Northwest windswell moves in for late Thursday up north and then all exposed breaks Friday at waist high or so. The North Shore of Oahu is to see nothing of interest for the next week. The East Shore to start seeing east tradewind generated windswell by Wednesday at waist high pushing head high on Thursday and then starting to fade a little to shoulder high Friday and stabilizing there for a while. The South Shore to see no southern hemi until late Thursday when new waist high swell arrives peaking at waist to chest high on Friday.
A small and generally weak gale formed in the deep Southeast Pacific last weekend (5/30) with 32 ft seas but only covering a small area. Background energy to push north into Southern California by late Sunday (6/6) building on Monday and holding into Tuesday (6/8). A stronger system tracked under New Zealand and pushed east Thurs-Sat (6/5) with 36-38 ft seas, all aligned very much to the east limiting energy pushing north. Still some energy is forecast into Hawaii by Friday (6/11) and the US West Coast by late Sat/early Sunday (6/13). Otherwise nothing is on the charts down south. Up north and decent gale is forecast tracking from a point 1200 nmiles north of Hawaii on Thurs (6/10) with 23 ft seas up into the northern Gulf of Alaska with up to 30 ft seas, but most of that later energy is to be aimed at the Pacific Northwest and points north of there. Possible swell with alot of luck.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Sunday (6/6) the North Pacific jetstream continued flowing flat over the 38N latitude as it has for a week or more now with a few small pockets of 140 kt winds extending from the dateline east pushing over extreme north California and then inland into the interior US mainland. A weak trough persisted in the Northern Gulf of Alaska but of no real strength. Limited support for weak gale development there. Over the next 72 hours the exact same pattern is to hold with energy levels dropping slightly to 130 kts, but the trough becoming better defined 600 nmiles off the North CA coast. Limited support for gale development there. Beyond 72 hours a new trough is to build out on the dateline late Wed (6/9) moving into the Central Gulf 24 hour later, with up to 150 kts winds but all on the east side of the trough, pushing most energy northeast. This trough to lift up into the Northeastern Gulf by Sat (6/12) and dissipating then. Beyond what was a great looking jet is to totally fall apart with weak winds levels (below 100 kts) and repositioned well north (up at 45-50N) offering no support for swell producing gale development.
At the surface on Sunday (6/6) a laconic weather pattern was in play with weak high pressure off the CA coast generating northwest winds at 5-10 kts along California and trades in the same speed range over Hawaii. Weak low pressure was 900 nmiles north of Hawaii doing nothing of interest. In short, no swell producing fetch was occurring. Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to build slightly and pushing up nestled up along the CA coast at 1024 mbs resulting in 15-20 kt north winds over North and Central CA waters making a mess of things and perhaps producing limited minimal short period windswell with trades remaining very light over Hawaii. The gale that was north of Hawaii is to push east and develop some with winds at 25-30 kts Tuesday 600 nmiles off San Francisco, then lifting northeast right before hitting the coast early Wednesday (6/9) and disintegrating as high pressure builds fast over the same area producing more 25 kt pure northwest fetch there. Theoretically 15 ft seas are forecast at 11 PM on Tuesday at 37N 133W resulting in some degree of swell at 5 ft @ 10 secs hitting Central CA from 285 degrees on Thurs AM (6/10) but buried in locally generated north short period windswell hitting at the same time. But another stronger and broader low pressure system is to be tracking off Japan to the dateline at the same time with 25 kt westerly fetch starting to take root.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (6/6) residual lower pressure was in the Gulf of Alaska pushing down the coast of the Pacific Northwest suppressing high pressure and keeping a relatively light northwest flow (5-10 kts) in effect. But high pressure at 1024 mbs was lurking about 1000 nmiles off to the west. By Monday AM (6/7) weak high pressure is to start building into the coast, producing a steady northwest flow at near 20 kts over Central CA holding into mid-Tuesday, then disintegrating as a low pressure cell builds just off the coast pushing into Oregon on Wednesday. Light winds forecast till about 4 PM as the low evaporates and stronger high pressure at 1032 mbs roars to life pushing up a pressure gradient with northwest winds 20 kts building to 30 kts later Thursday even wrapping into Southern CA. The gradient to shift north some on Friday focused on Cape Mendocino with 35 kt northwest winds there reaching to Pt Conception at 20 kts and over the Channel Islands, but likely sparring Southern CA. By Saturday (6/12) the gradient is to be fading and lifting more to the north, with local winds improving in Central CA late and a calm pattern expected by Sunday (6/13).
On Sunday (6/6) residual seas from previous fetch were tracking through the Southeastern Pacific and covering a large area (see Southwest Pacific Gale below). But otherwise no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring in the South Pacific. Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast with high pressure in control of the southwest Pacific.
Southeast Pacific Gale
On Saturday AM (5/29) a small gale developed with 40 kt southwest winds at 52S 142W lifting northeast producing 30 ft seas at 54S 150W pushing somewhat up the 196 degree path to California. Fetch held into the evening with 32 ft seas continuing at 50S 142W. Sunday AM (5/30) 40 kt southwest winds were modeled at 43S 125W with lingering 30 ft seas at 47S 133W and starting to push more east towards South America. Fetch and seas were gone after that. Possible small 16 sec period swell will be radiating north towards the US mainland.
Swell arriving in Southern CA late Sunday (6/6) at 2.3 ft @ 18 secs (4 ft faces) peaking on Monday at 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5 ft faces) from 192 degrees. Swell down to 3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Tues (5/8). But most swell energy is to be bound for Central America and points south of there.
Southwest Pacific Gale
On Thursday AM (6/3) a gale was tracking under Australia pushing into the extreme Southwest Pacific and starting to develop, carrying seas previously generated with it. 45 kt west winds were modeled at 56S 180W with seas of 32 ft at 58S 170E, but with limited if any energy radiating north. Thursday evening (6/3) more 45 kt west winds were modeled at 61S 175W aimed 40 degrees east of the 208 degree path to NCal and totally shadowed by Tahiti and 70 degrees east of the 193 degree path to Hawaii generating seas of 36 ft at 59S 180W. On Friday AM 45 kt west winds were modeled at 60S 160W aimed 40 degrees east of the 200 degree path to California (totally shadowed) and 80 degrees east of the 184 degree path to Hawaii generating seas of 35 ft at 57S 170W. 45 kt west winds lifted a little northeast in the evening at 55S 158W producing seas of 38 ft at 56S 167W pushing 40 degree east of the 203 degree path to California and almost east of the Tahitian swell shadow and pushing completely east of any route to Hawaii. On Saturday AM (6/5) this system raced east with the core becoming fragmented and none of the original fetch remaining. 36 ft seas from previous fetch were fading at 57S 152W all pushing pretty well due east with minimal energy tracking up the 196 degree path to California and effectively unshadowed by Tahiti. Some degree of limited mostly shadowed sideband swell is expected to radiate into California with background swell for Hawaii.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on late on Thurs (6/10) with pure swell 1.6 ft @ 19 secs (3 ft faces). Swell to peak on Friday (6/11) at 2 ft @ 18 secs (3.5 ft faces - top spots to 4 ft) then settling down on Saturday with swell 1.6 ft @ 16 secs (2.6-3.0 ft faces). Residuals of 1.6 ft @ 15 secs (2.5 ft faces) expected on Sunday (6/13). Swell Direction:192 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arriving late on Saturday (6/12) at 1.6 ft @ 20 secs (3 ft faces). Swell building to 2.6 ft @ 18 secs (4.5 ft faces) on Sunday (6/13). Swell Direction: 200-205 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 hrs high pressure at 1032 mbs is to be in control of waters between Hawaii and the US West Coast generating north winds at 25 kts along the CA coast on Thurs (6/10) pushing 30-35 kts solid by Friday (6/11) just ripping the heck out of everything there while generating copious short period north windswell, then backing off by later in the weekend. Trades to also start taking root over Hawaii on Wed (6/9) at 20 kts and holding solid through the end of the workweek and into the weekend with short period east windswell on the upswing.
A gale tracking east from Japan is to start getting legs on Thursday (6/10) producing up to 40 kt northwest winds at 42N 164W 1300 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii then tracking west for 12 hours with 23 ft seas forecast at 42N 158W in the evening. The gale is to then quickly lift northeast and reorganize in the northern Gulf Friday AM (6/11) with 40 kt northwest winds at 50N 150W pushing 45 kts in the evening but all aimed due east to almost northeast targeting only the north end of the Pacific Northwest up into Canada. 26 ft seas forecast Friday AM at 50N 148W aimed as mentioned before. In all, there some hope for small swell from the initial pulse of this system on Thurs for perhaps both Hawaii and the US West coast if all goes as planned, but it is way too early to know with any certainty yet.
MJO/ENSO Update (reference): As of Sunday (6/6) the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was backing off some from positive territory. The daily SOI was down to -7.59. The 30 day average was down to 8.65 with the 90 day up to 5.66. This still was looking like a La Nina pattern.
Wind anomalies as of Sunday (6/6) at the 850 mb level (approx 5000 ft up) as defined by models suggested light east anomalies over the West Pacific to the dateline indicative of the building INactive Phase of the MJO and neutral/normal winds over the rest of the Pacific. By 6/10 and neutral pattern is to be taking hold of the entire Pacific and holding till the end of the month.
We believe that El Nino will not hang on for another year, and that rather we'll fall back into some form of a light La Nina Pattern (where the Inactive Phase takes control). Of other interest will be whether the Iceland Volcano will spew enough high level fine particle dust and aerosols into the atmosphere to produce a reflective effect, dropping surface temperature and pushing us into a multi-year La Nina. This is a very real concern.
Sea Surface Temp anomaly data (6/3) indicates that cooler than normal waters have now developed over a thin strip on the equator from South America drifting west and covering the important equatorial area of almost half the Pacific Ocean. This is a dramatic turn for the worse and only seems to have gotten stronger over the past week. A massive buildup of warmer than normal waters continues in the Atlantic, of concern to hurricane forecasters there. We'll see if upper level winds support development of hurricane activity or whether residual upper level shear from El Nino will chop the tops of developing systems. Suspect shear will be gone by the heart of hurricane season in the Atlantic.
Below the surface on the equator no Kevin Wave activity was present and if anything colder than normal water was building strong over the dateline and pushing east (sort of like a cold Kelvin Wave). Not good.
Over the entire Equatorial Pacific trades were blowing all the way to almost the Philippines, but only in the normal range. Perhaps a slight push to the west was occurring, but nothing extraordinary. This looks like the normal Springtime transition typical for this time of the year but is likely to change towards an increased easterly flow as Fall approaches symptomatic of La Nina.
El Nino is effectively gone and slowly losing it's grip on the global atmospheric weather pattern. Still some lingering impact is to continue into the Summer of 2010 enhancing the storm track in the South Pacific some. A slow transition to a normal if not slight cooler than normal state (La Nina) is expected through Nov 2010, and the signs continue to point to a La Nina pattern for the long term future.
See more details in the new El Nino update.
Beyond 72 hours the models indicate no swell producing fetch is 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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Then open your Google homepage, hit 'edit' button (top right near graph), and select your location
The Mavericks: Everest of the Seas Exhibition has unveiled its latest gallery featuring some of the most heart-stopping images from the epic El Niño-fueled Big Wave Season. This year's lineup includes not only a culmination of images from Award-winning photographers Doug Acton, Frank Quirarte, Seth Migdail, Ed Grant and Art Gimbel but a multimedia slide show and a video recap of the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest, one of the greatest days in surfing history.
Thanks to an El Nino weather pattern, this has been one of the most dramatic big-wave surf seasons on record, said Doug Acton, Mavericks Veteran Lensmen.
Now Eric Nelson and Curt Myers of Powerlines Productions have come on board to bring the gallery images to life by presenting both water and cliff-angle video of the Mavericks contest, won by South Africa's Chris Bertish in the biggest waves ever ridden in a paddle-surf contest.
The Mavericks crew will transform the Longboard Vineyards tasting room into a virtual caldron of 50-foot drops, glory rides and heinous wipeouts. As you stand under the colorful Tibetan Prayer flags, tasting some of Longboard Vineyards' libations, you'll be hard-pressed not to become immersed in the real-life drama, energy and stoke that surrounds the surfers and photographers every time they head out to the lineup.
Longtime big-wave surfer Mark (Doc) Renneker put it best when he said, “Every time you leave the shore, you head out into the wildnerness.”
“We're coming off one of the most phenomenal big-wave seasons to date," said Quirarte, the longtime Mavericks lifeguard and master lensman. “This season we witnessed so many great rides by so many different surfers from so many different countries. Mavericks is still the No. 1 all-around spot in the world for big-wave surfing.”
Oded Shakked, a longtime surfer who founded Longboard Vineyards, will be on hand at the reception to unveil the latest release in his Mavericks Signature Series, the Ken “Skindog” Collins Syrah.
Veteran waterman Ken “Skindog” Collins (Santa Cruz, CA) is hands down one of the most recognized and respected big wave surfers today. With his recent trip to the podium at the 2010 Mavericks Surf Contest or his epic twenty-foot Puerto Escondido barrel that earned him top honors at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. Collins has traveled the world mentoring up and coming crop of big wave chargers -- and has himself pioneered and ridden the biggest waves on the planet.
“I can't think of a better person to honor with our next Mavericks label than Kenny Collins,” said Shakked. “A true icon of the sport.”__
Oded Shakked, along with the featured photographers, videographers, surfboard shapers and wine makers will be on hand at the Longboard Vineyards Tasting room in beautiful Healdsburg California for the Saturday night reception on May 22nd The reception will begin at 5pm and run until roughly 9pm.
“Everest of the Seas” was launched in the summer of 2009, with the idea of bringing together the most memorable photos from Mavericks' best sessions. It drew large crowds and an enthusiastic response in its debut at the Coastal Arts League Gallery in Half Moon Bay, then moved on to successful runs at San Francisco's world-class SFMOMA Museum and Gallery, The Fillmore, The Half Moon Bay Big Wave Surfing Festival and Longboard Vineyards.
Stormsurf Hi-Res Coastal Precipitation Models Upgraded Though a bit late in the season, on 3/20 we implemented the same basic technology used in our new snow/ski models into the coastal hi-res precipitation models. So now you can not only determined whether rain is forecast for your area, but also snow. And not just light, medium or heavy snow like most sites, but the exact snowfall amount (in inches) for each 3 hr frame of the animation. Here's a sample, but now this approach is used in all our precipitation models. http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=nwcoast_precip
Stormsurf Precip Models Upgraded! On 2/20 we upgraded some of the broader precipitation models driven by the hi-def GFS model to include snow fall. The algorithm used is similar to the recently released snow models for the Southwest US in that the areas where snow is expected are identified and the exact amount of snow forecast over a 3 hr window is explicitly color coded. For East and West Coast US interests the following links provide good examples:
West Coast: http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=nepac_precip
East Coast: http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=watla_precip
Stormsurf Weather Models have all been upgraded! Over the New Years break we installed all new and upgraded weather models. Also new are experimental snow models for the Southwest US. Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wx.html
Read about Eric Nelson and Curt Myers, the makers of Ride-On and other Big Wave Surf Movies here: http://coastviewsmag.com/powerlines-productions-filming-the-art-of-big-wave-surfing
Ride On! Powerlines new big wave epic is now available on DVD. Get the entire big wave story of the 2008-2009 season here: http://www.mavz.com/
||Casa Noble Tequila If you are looking for an exquisite experience in fine tequila tasting, one we highly recommend, try Case Noble. Consistently rated the best tequila when compared to any other. Available at BevMo (in California). Read more here: http://www.casanoble.com/
Interview With Stormsurf: The crew at SurfScience.com worked with Stormsurf on a feature about why surfers should be able to read wave charts themselves. They are firm believers that a little learning can go a long way to help your surfing. This is a great article to help convince your friends that they can benefit from being able to read the data themsleves rather than just relying on the forecasts of others. See the full thing here: Create Your Own Surf Forecast with Stormsurf
North California Surf Report Works Again: After an extended downtime we finally got the North California Surf Report working again. Thanks for your patience. See it here: http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/report/ncal.html
Shark Video: Our friend Curt Myers of Powerlines productions shot this footage of 2 great whites munching on a whale carcass off Devils Slide (south of San Francisco) on Thursday. Kind of interesting to watch. Check it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I4rZYEZMWQ (Fixed link)
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/
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
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.
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