On Thursday (7/28) Northern CA surf was up to waist high and mushy. South facing breaks were waist high. Central California was up to waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high at the best breaks. The LA area southward into Orange County was basically flat with best break to barely waist high. Southward to San Diego waves were barely up to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was waist to nearly chest high.
Lack of swell continues to be a major problem with the Southern Hemi storm track totally shut down. Windswell remains the best hope mainly in North CA and along Hawaii's eastern shores. No real change is forecast over the next 5 days as high pressure continues to hold solid solid over the entire South Pacific. Finally one small low is forecast under Tahiti mid-next week with additional activity forecast beyond that, so there is a glimmer of hope for swell 2+ weeks out. But until then best bet is for locally generated windswell, which fortunately is to continue coming from the northwest in North and Central CA and from the northeast on Hawaii's east coasts. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
At the jetstream level on Thursday (7/28) a weak trough had moved into the northern Gulf of Alaska but was nowhere close to having any swell generation potential at the surface. A ridge was present over the West Pacific minimizing any storm potential there (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the trough in the Gulf is to amplify some peaking on Saturday (7/30) with 110 kt winds there and some surface level low pressure suggested. Otherwise a mild ridge is to continue in the west.
At the surface today high pressure that has been so strong in the Northeast Pacific was breaking down and retrograding west with pressure at 1024 mbs centered 900 nmiles north of Hawaii. Weak low pressure at the dateline was trying to cut into the top half of it from the west. East of Hawaii a reasonably sized fetch of east-northeast trades were being generated by the interaction of the high and lower pressure to the south, producing windswell for the Islands. Similar stregthed north winds were blowing off Cape Mendocino CA producing tiny windswell for the North and Central CA coasts. Remnants of Tropical Storm Banyan were fading over the Central Kuril Islands and tracking north up the Islands chain. In all, things were very quiet (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the high is to continue retrograding to the west taking a position up near the dateline. The gradient off Cape Mendocino is to fade more with the windswell dropping too. East winds are to continue over Hawaii providing continued windswell there. Of most interest is continued eastward movement of low pressure that is expected to cut through the Hawaiian high on Friday (7/29) and try to develop in the Gulf of Alaska. Earlier model runs had suggested some real fetch was to result, but that was an obvious optimistic call by the models. Latest projections show a more realistic 1008 mb low maxing early Saturday (7/30) with may be some fleeting 25-30 kt winds aimed towards California at best then fading as it moves towards Vancouver Island on Sunday. Little swell generation potential.
More model data here
California Offshore Forecast
Thursday mornings local charts (7/28) indicated that high pressure is retrograding to the west (moving from California towards the dateline) as expected, causing the requisite decrease in pressure difference off Cape Mendocino and reducing the velocity of north winds there. This has resulted in the steady decrease in windswell along the North California. With less high pressure now forecast well into next week, a series of 3 weak low pressure systems are forecast to track through the mid-Gulf of Alaska. The first was originally expected to produce some semi serious windswell, but that was an obvious exaggeration by the models. Latest data now suggests a far more modest 1006 mb low pushing east with maybe some 20-25 kts northwest winds aimed towards California early Saturday (7/30) with very limited windswell generation potential. A broader low is to follow (remnants of TS Banyan) late Monday (8/1) but further to the west with 20-25 kts west winds, and yet a third weaker system late Thursday (8/4) even more to the west with less wind. Feeble windswell is the most likely result, but that's better than nothing and hopefully will provide a suitable substitute for the flagging Cape Mendocino gradient. If nothing else, high pressure is expected to make a comeback by next weekend in the Gulf possibly bringing the Cape Mendocino gradient back into play.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Thursday (7/28) the jetstream charts still indicated a complete split jet was in affect with the northern branch containing all the energy with winds up to 150 170 kts streaking zonally due east south of Tahiti tracking into Chile. No troughs of interest were present. The southern branch was sweeping east across the Antarctic Continent. There was no support for surface level storm production (animation here). Over the next 72 hours no significant change is forecast. The only exceptions are to be a minor hint of a trough developing north of New Zealand in the northern branch and a weakening of the winds in the southern branch. But overall the scenario is to be poor for supporting storm development.
At the surface strong high pressure at 1036 mbs remained positioned in the center of the South Pacific totally dominating the storm corridor there. Any fetch present was pointing due south into Antarctica. No swell generation potential for any US landmass was suggested (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the high is to slowly drift north and dissipate while a new reinforcing high builds east of New Zealand, taking the place of the original low by Sunday (7/31) with pressure at 1028 mbs. No swell producing fetch forecast anywhere in the South Pacific.
More model data here
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Thursday upper level models (7/28) indicate that beyond 72 hours a weak trough is to persist in the northern Gulf of Alaska, fading late into next work week as a weak trough tries to build over the Northwest Pacific. No suggestion of any surface storm production.
At the surface high pressure at 1024 mbs is to continue holding it's ground near the dateline at 1024 mbs with a ridge extending north of Hawaii providing the potential for weak short period windswell along east facing shore of the Islands. Low pressure that was formally Tropical Storm Banyan is to move through the Bering Sea dropping into the Gulf of Alaska by Sunday (7/31) tracking east with limited 20-25 kts fetch aimed at the Pacific Northwest through late Tuesday (8/2) before fading there. Maybe some windswell for California and Oregon, but the period is to be short. By late next workweek the high over the dateline is to start making a fast return east possibly signaling a return of more sizeable north windswell to California and slightly larger east windswell to Hawaii.
Thursdays upper level models (7/28) indicated that beyond 72 hours the trough in the northern branch of the jet is to start amplifying and looking somewhat promising by Tuesday (8/2) with winds 170 kts at it's peak southwest of Tahiti. A fully split jet is still to be in affect, but we're looking for any ripple of hope. At the same time the southern branch is to be lifting a bit north. This is not a good scenario by any means, but it suggests that the South Pacific upper level pattern is to be making strides towards returning to a somewhat more normal pattern. By Friday (8/50 a real trough is expected to open up in the Tasman Sea, yet more encouraging news.
At the surface the new reinforcing high pressure system is to continue growing at 1032 mbs by Monday (8/1) but not covering as much territory to the north. This is expected to facilitate development of a new cut-off low that is to be sinking south over Tahiti taking up shop just north of the new high. This low is to start tapping some of the trough energy in the upper atmosphere. The close proximity of these two systems is to generate a gradient of 45-50 kts winds over a tight core aimed well from Tahiti westward to New Zealand holding well into Tuesday. Some swell generation potential certainly for Tahiti, less so for Hawaii and next to nothing for the US mainland. Two more lows are to form right after that on Thursday (8/4) in the Southern Tasman Sea and just north of Northern New Zealand while high pressure in the core of the South Pacific retreats. Maybe an end to the storm drought is at hand, but it's way to early to speculate with any confidence.
Details to follow...
Tutorial on the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) Presented by Dr. Roland Madden: If you're interested in El Nino and the MJO, have a basic understanding of El Nino, and you have broadband connection, audio and Macromedia Flash installed, then the following presentation is a must see. Dr Madden present a great overview of how the MJO works. And there's nothing like hearing it straight from the founders mouth. Link here: http://meted.ucar.edu/climate/mjo/mjonav0.htm
Stormsurf Weather Models Updated Again: Yes, we've been at it again this weekend getting another batch of weather models running. Global coverage is now provided for jetstream forecasts and surface pressure and winds. Zoomed in data is also available for such locations as the Mentawai Islands to Western Australia corridor, Tahiti, South America, Europe and Norwegian Sea. So now you can get local wind forecasts for these and more locations with one click. Take a look here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu.html
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table