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 Thursday (7/10) Northern CA surf was waist to shoulder high with a light onshore wind and textured crumbly conditions. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were maybe knee high and textured. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh high on the sets and lightly textured. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was near flat with rare knee to maybe thigh high sets and lightly textured. The LA Area southward to Orange County was flat and textured. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were waist high and clean early. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was near flat and clean. The East Shore was flat.
North/Central California was getting fading locally generated northwest windswell. Southern California was effectively flat. Hawaii's North Shore was flat for the summer. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was flat.
For Central California only locally generated windswell expected for the weekend, and fading at that after a minor resurgence on Friday. More windswell expected to arrive for next week, but the fetch is to be over the coast. Southern CA to see only the faintest hints of the same northwest windswell, and likely not even that. In the Islands flatness to remain with no southern hemi swell of interest expected for the next 7 days. Minimal tradewind generated east windswell is possible Sat/Sun, maybe in the waist high range with luck. One storm is forecast under New Zealand Sun/Mon, but based on the track record of the models on long range projections, odds are very low of it actually forming. A storm storm previously forecast in the Southeast Pacific this weekend has all but retreated from the charts with no swell generation potential indicated for Hawaii or the US. Maybe a little pulse for South and Central America when and if it every forms early next week off Chile. So for now the southern hemi swell drought continues with no end apparent. 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 other than a continued weak ridge pushing over the West Coast through Saturday (7/12) offering more potential for heat inland, then washing out.
At the surface today moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs was centered 300 nmiles west of Washington with lesser high pressure meandering back to nearly the dateline. It was producing a pressure gradient over Cape Mendocino generating a very small area of north winds there at 30 kts and producing small windswell for exposed breaks into Central CA. This fetch is to surge modestly on Friday then fade Saturday down to 20 kts on Sunday. Over the next 72 hours high pressure is to retrograde away from the US west Coast trying to regroup in the open waters of the North Pacific not affecting California but maybe sending s quick shot of 15-20 kt northeast winds over the Hawaiian Islands late Friday into Saturday possibly setting up minimal short period local windswell.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Nearshore Forecast
On Thursday (7/10) weak high pressure at 1028 mbs was locked 300 nmiles off Washington still trying to feed the usual Cape Mendocino pressure gradient generating a moderate area of 25 kt north winds there and small northerly windswell for exposed breaks down through Central CA. These winds were positioned off the coast keeping nearshore winds near calm from Pt Reyes southward. The high to surge a little on Friday bumping the windswell size up a notch with local windswell staying light, then all falling apart through the weekend with no winds of interest forecast save a tiny fetch of 25 kt north winds holding over Cape Mendo. A weak eddy flow (southwest) to hold into mid-next week when the gradient rebuilds and sags south, draping north winds into all of Central CA by Wednesday (7/16) and beyond.
No tropical systems of interest were being tracked.
On Thursday (7/10) a continuation of the split jetstream pattern remained in-control of the entire South Pacific with a flat flow pushing over the Ross Ice Shelf under New Zealand and a ridge pushing into Antarctica in the southeast. There was no support for surface level storm development. Over the next 72 hours a new ridge is to build under New Zealand pushing into interior Antarctica Saturday (7/12) shutting things down there, while something that almost resembles a trough tries to take hold in the far southeast, but not starting until east of 110W, well outside the swell window for the US mainland. Beyond 72 hrs something that almost resemble a trough is to try and build under New Zealand starting Sunday (7/13) but is to not clear the northern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, likely dooming any low pressure system that tries to get hold at the oceans surface to blowing over ice rather than open water. Reinforcements to that trough are to build in by Wednesday (7/16) and holding into later in the week possibly opening the door a little wider, but it's really way too early to have any confidence in that outcome.
At the oceans surface high pressure at 1032 mbs was centered over New Zealand as it should be with a second high generally off Chile. A 960 mb low was streaking east under New Zealand with 40-45 kt west winds, but not getting much traction on the oceans surface. This was previously projected to be a monster storm, but has since be downgraded heavily. Over the next 72 hours that low to slow some once reaching the mid-Pacific then start heading northeast with a tiny area of 45 kt winds aimed up towards the mainland into Central America. Varying degrees of 26-29 ft seas forecast Saturday in the US swell window, but only over a small area and not of any real interest. Background swell at best.
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 the high is to reconsolidate in the Gulf at 1028 mbs by Wednesday possibly reinvigorating the Cape Mendocino pressure gradient with 25 kt north winds and improving odds for minimal short period windswell along exposed stretches of the coast building into next weekend (7/18). Trades to remain slack over the Hawaiian Islands.
MJO/ENSO Update: As of Thursday (7/8) the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was moving to the inactive phase. A fading area of anomalous west 850 mb winds were pushing from the dateline over the equator east into Central America associated with the usual propagation of the active phase of the MJO, though still hanging on longer than expected. A fragmented area of slightly stronger than normal easterly winds were moving over the equatorial far Western Pacific, signaling the start of the Inactive phase there. It is forecast to be dead by the end of July opening up the next window for the active phase to move in behind. The SOI index started turning positive (after a solid run of negative numbers) on 6/28 in the +11 range, but then dropped to the -2 range over the 4th weekend, then rebounded to the +2-+10 range through Tuesday (7/8) only to turn negative again currently at -4.37. The 30 day average was -1.69 and the 90 day average was 0.97, essentially dead neutral. La Nina is gone from a weather perspective with water temperatures over the Central Pacific just slightly below normal, though a broad warmer than usual pool of water continued building off Central America and a weak subsurface flow of warmer than usual water persists from the dateline east, fueling the buildup off the Central America coast. This should serve to wipeout the remnants of La Nina, and is mildly indicative of an El Nino. The pattern of persistent Japan storm surviving the trip to the Gulf of Alaska in mid-summer is a bit puzzling too. But if El Nino were to actually be forming, there should be clear signs of it by now in the SOI, which there is not. No clear Westerly Wind bursts have been indicated either. Will monitor.
Beyond 72 hrs a strong gale is forecast pushing under New Zealand late Saturday into Sunday (7/13) with 45 kt west winds and generating up to 38 ft seas on Sunday at 55S 170-180W. but most energy to be aimed due east. Maybe limited background swell for Hawaii and the US West coast assuming it even forms.
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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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table