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 Sunday (6/22) Northern CA surf was waist to chest high with onshore winds and fog. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high and clean. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist to chest high and pretty blown early. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was up to waist high and heavily textured early. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with some chest high sets and textured early. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist high with a few shoulder high sets and clean, and over head at top spots. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high and clean. The East Shore was thigh high.
North/Central California was still getting southern hemi swell, mixed with locally generated northwest windswell. This has been a tremendous run of southern hemi energy, not necessarily size wise but in consistency and from a great angle and with decent conditions at select locations. Southern California was also seeing southern hemi swell and no real northwest windswell. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The South Shore was getting just a hint of south hemi background energy, but nothing real interesting. The East Shore was getting bare minimal tradewind generated windswell.
For Central California, northwest windswell to start building as the southern hemi swell fades into oblivion on Monday, providing a different ocean state than what has been inplay for weeks now. This windswell to peak mid-week along with onshore winds and generally poor conditions. Then Friday the wind is to back off and the windswell start fading, just in time for another pulse of southern hemi swell by the weekend. Hard to believe but here we go again. Southern CA to see the same pattern only with smaller windswell and less local wind. In the Islands minimal to next-to-nothing local east windswell to continue, possibly coming up a little by the weekend. A small pulse of Southern hemi swell is forecast Tuesday fading by Thursday, with yet another small one by Saturday. Rideable but not a whole lot more. So we enter a calmer phase, but not flat. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
The North Pacific jetstream is in hibernation for the summer. No features of interest are indicated though a steady weak consolidated flow is in-play and forecast to build from the dateline over the Gulf of Alaska mid week, then fading into the weekend. Nothing gale-wise to result, but interesting that there is even this much energy at this time of the year.
At the surface today moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs was filling the East Pacific and west to the dateline but generally diffuse. It was serving to generate increased northerly winds along the California coast and trades over the Hawaiian Islands. Weak low pressure was in the Northern Gulf of Alaska but only had maybe 20 kt winds associated with it and unproductive. Over the next 72 hours starting on Monday the Gulf low is to move inland and the high is to get better footing into California with north winds on the increase through mid week producing short period windswell, then focusing more in the Cape Mendocino region. By Thursday into Friday it's to be pulling away from the coast south of there, with winds declining. Trades to continue for Hawaii off the south side of the high but remaining generally weak in the 15 kts range. One interesting note is that a low pressure system is forecast building over the dateline Tuesday (6/24) perhaps producing a short duration of 30 kt winds aimed east. No swell to result but interesting just the same, especially for late June.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Sunday (6/22) high pressure at 1026 mbs was just off the California coast, part of a broader high complex filling the East and Central Pacific and was serving to generate north winds and cool things down along the coast and working it's way inland. By Monday the high is to get better entrenched with 20 to 25 kt north winds building over the coast from Baja north to Southern Oregon and generating short period local windswell holding if not building slightly into Wednesday (6/25) with up to 30 kt winds, but again just hugging the coast. Southern CA to actually see direct effects of these winds on Monday, then pulling out to the Channel Islands. By Thursday (6/26) the pressure gradient and winds are to all move to the north focused on Cape Mendocino at 25-30 kts and perhaps giving some relief to beaches from Pt Reyes southward. Friday the whole pattern is to start breaking down with calm winds or a slight eddy flow in control and holding into the weekend.
Typhoon Fengsmem has pushed over the Philippines tracking northwest and is expected to turn north then northeast moving very near Taiwan and then just south of Japan late in the workweek. Winds to not exceed 75 kts and if anything they are to start fading later in the week. No swell producing fetch is indicated for the US swell window.
On Sunday (6/22) a split jetstream pattern was in control of the entire South Pacific with only a weak northward pushing in the southern branch in the far Eastern Pacific off Chile and outside our forecast window. If anything the southern branch was pushing slightly to the south and offering no support for for surface level storm development. Over the next 72 hours the split flow is to persist with the the weak trough in the far East continuing, but a strong ridge is to be building in the West under New Zealand pushing south into Antarctica, totally shutting down any odds for storm development. Beyond 72 hrs a second and third reinforcing ridge are to build in the same area under New Zealand suppressing storm development potential for the next 7 days.
At the oceans surface high pressure at 1024 mbs was sitting east of New Zealand forcing the storm track well to the south. No swell producing fetch of interest was present. Over the next 72 hours a broad and fairly vigorous gale is to push east of Tasmania Monday (6/23) directing 45 kt winds and 36 ft seas north into the Tasman Sea aimed at Fiji. A second smaller but stronger fetch of 55-60 kts winds is push under Tasmania Tuesday sending more 42 ft seas on a route more towards New Zealand though some energy will undoubtedly push north towards Fiji. But both of these systems to fade before they reach the South Pacific offering no potential to our forecast area. Hawaii might see some limited energy from the Tasman Sea after is gets filter by the reefs near Fiji.
South Pacific Gale
On Thursday (6/22) a small 956 storm developed just north of the Ross Ice Shelf on the dateline pushing due east with winds 45-50 kts aimed a bit north of due east. This fetch tracked east through the day and then faded overnight. Seas were up to 32 ft in the morning at 60S 170W reaching 35 ft in the evening at 60S 152W up to 36 ft Friday AM (6/20) at 55S 140W before fading out quickly after that. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass over the southern quadrant of this system at 15Z on Thursday (6/19) and reported seas at 37.1 ft with a peak reading to 40.7 ft actually doing better than what the models suggested.
Limited background sideband swell is likely pushing north towards Hawaii and California.
Background sideband swell to reach Hawaii on Thursday (6/27) with swell to 1.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (2.5 ft faces). Swell pushing 2 ft @ 16 secs (3 ft faces - 4 ft sets) on Friday fading to 1.6 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5 ft faces) Saturday (6/29). Swell Direction: 185 degrees
Swell to push into California starting Saturday (6/28) with pure swell 2.3 ft @ 18 secs late (4 ft faces). Swell to build to near 3 ft @ 16-17 secs (5 ft faces) by early Sunday. Swell Direction 192-195 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 large scale swell producing weather systems are forecast. High pressure is to retreat from California but continue a steady flow of trades over the Hawaiian Islands for the weekend offering slightly better odds of windswell development. Also a steady flow of weak low pressure systems to push off Japan flowing east towards the Gulf but unproductive.
MJO/ENSO Update: As of Sunday (6/22) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was in the active phase, know to enhance the production of storms in the Northern Hemisphere over a roughly 20 day time span during the winter months there and is also complicit with the formation of El Nino (which also enhances storms in the NPac during the winter) when multiple strong active phases occur in rapid succession during late spring into summer and Fall. A single MJO cycle lasts typically 40 days going from inactive to active then turns back to inactive. Today a small area of anomalous west 850 mb winds were over the Philippines , but much less than previously forecast. The active phase was looking much weaker than anticipate. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) which measures the pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin Australia was very positive June 2-10 at +15 to +35, indicative of the inactive phase of the MJO. That changed on June 11 when it started hovering in the slightly negative range (-2 to -8 ), consistent with the inactive phase of the MJO. It then backed off a little holding near 0 through 6/20, then dropped to the -24 to -27 range the past 2 days. The 30 day average had been consistently slightly negative since May 21 hovering in the -1 to -4 range, but just broke the +2 reading on 6/19 and has been hovering there. In all this is a nice change compared to the record La Nina which controlled the winter of 2007/2008 peaking with a monthly average of +22 in Feb 2008. This current prolonged recent exposure of negative SOI values has nearly wiped out La Nina and is keeping us watching the possibility for formation of El Nino in Fall on 2008. Though not likely from a historical perspective, it is interesting to watch just the same. The influence of the MJO on the Southern hemi storm track is not well correlated. Regardless, this current active phase of the MJO is to peak near June 22 over the dateline, then fade while pushing east towards Central America, limping over that area near 7/1. This is not to be a strong active phase, but should still be enough to help wipe the remnants of La Nina off the charts.
Beyond 72 hrs one more storm is to pass over Tasmania bound for the Tasman Sea on Thursday (6/26) with a small area of 42 ft sea almost sneaking free and clear of Tasmania then fading Friday. But again, no swell producing systems are forecast in the South PAcific thansk to the unfavorable jetstream flow aloft.
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
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).
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/
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