On Sunday (7/30) Northern CA surf was thigh to waist high with southwest eddy winds a-blowin'. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist high. Central California surf was thigh high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were thigh to waist high with a few stray chest high sets at the best spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were also thigh high with waist high sets. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist to chest high with occasional head high sets at the best breaks. The East Shore was waist high.
Northern California was seeing a little bit of northwest windswell while the south end of the state was getting a more dominant southern hemi background swell with some tropical energy hiding in the background. Hawaii continued seeing a decent dose of southern hemi energy originating from under New Zealand, though it was on the downswing. This swell currently hitting the Islands is pushing towards California though smaller and more decayed upon arrival. And another storm formed this weekend under New Zealand and is pushing it's way northeast, with most sized expected for Hawaii and more secondary energy pushing towards California. So rideable surf for all locations is in the water. Longer term the outlook isn't so rosy, with the South Pacific looking to take a break, through not totally inactive. So make the most of what's on the menu. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (7/30) indicated a seasonally weak flow providing no support for surface level gale development for the next 7 days.
At the surface high pressure at 1032 was centered just east of the dateline and filling the entire North Pacific, ridging east barely into North CA and west to Kamchatka and a bit north of the Hawaiian Islands. No obvious windswell generation potential was depicted. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (8/2) the high is to make a major push to the east with the usual pressure gradient and associated northwest winds starting to build over the Central California coast initially at 20-25 kts then moving north towards Cape Mendocino CA. Short period junky windswell expected to result. HAwaii to remain in rather stagnant conditions with a suppressed trade wind flow indicated through the period.
The East and Central Pacific had no active tropical systems in flight. Two weak surface lows were being tracked, but neither looked promising.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
Monday to bring a change of pattern with local northwest winds becoming more dominant along the North and Central coasts as high pressure out by the dateline starts pushing east. This to continue into Tuesday with 20 kt winds modeled just off the coast then, but by Wednesday that to fade as the core of the pressure gradient between high pressure at sea and lower pressure inland becomes more focused on the Cape Mendocino area. A light wind pattern to take hold locally (if not a southwesterly eddy flow) as 30 kt winds and building windswell develop off the Cape pushing southeast towards North and Central CA Thursday. This pattern to peak out Friday (7/4) with 30-35 kts winds off the Cape, then fading over the day Saturday with light winds forecast from Pt Arena southward.
The detailed 5 Day Wind Forecast is included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Sunday (7/30) the jetstream was showing signs of returning to it's old and unproductive ways, with one small exception. The northern branch was dominant flowing flat from mid-Australia east into Northern Child with winds up to 170 kts in the middle of the South Pacific. The Southern branch was weak and on it's own course flowing over Antarctic Ice, except in the mid-Pacific where a decent trough was pushing it north and it was merging with the northern branch, causing the high winds mentioned above. This area was the most fertile ground for surface level storm development, but even then there were some indication that the trough was starting to get cut off. Over the next 72 hours this trough to drift east and be undercut by the southern branch of the jet by Monday, rendering it near-useless. The trough to be out of even the Southern CA swell window by Wednesday. At the same time this years usual unfavorable southern pattern to build over or near Antarctic Ice, driving all surface level system along that route, locked over ice. Beyond 72 hours by Friday (8/4) there's indications of a trough building near 160W (south of Hawaii) drifting slowly east with some degree of 120 kt winds pushing over it, providing a slightly better chance for surface level gale development in the area.
At the surface on Sunday (7/30) a moderately broad low pressure gale at 972 mbs was centered in the mid South Pacific tracking slowly east. This is the remnants of Hawaiian Storm #4S and is detailed below. Otherwise a non-productive surface weather pattern was in-play with no swell producing potential exhibited. No change forecast for the next 72 hours either with no defined strong low or high pressure systems suggested.
Storm #4S - Hawaii
On Sunday AM (7/23) a small low started to develop directly under New Zealand producing 50 kt winds at 54S 165E aimed northeast up the 201 degree path to Hawaii and the 216 degree path to California. By the evening winds continued at 50-55 kts centered near 55S 175E aimed northeast aimed like before. By Monday AM pressure was down to 960 mbs with winds fading some to 50 kts over a shrinking area centered at 56S 172E aimed well up the 195 degree path to Hawaii and the 212 degree path to California. By evening 36 ft seas were in place at 54S 175W tracking northeast with winds dropping from 45 kts over a broad area. 37 ft seas were modeled into Tuesday PM at 50S 170W on the 187 degree path to Hawaii and the 208 degree path to California but becoming shadowed by Tahiti, especially Southern CA, then fading out.
Data for the storm was reconstructed from a variety of non-Stormsurf sources (due to our server outage) so confidence is not as high as usual. Still this system appeared to be a moderate winter-time southern hemi storm well positioned to push solid energy towards Hawaii and in relatively close proximity to the Islands 4572 nmiles and well inside their swell window which should result in a significant class swell with period in the 17-20 sec range. California was much further away (6100 nmiles) and partially shadowed by Tahiti towards the end of the storm, resulting in smaller more decayed but still decent sized utility class swell in the 17-20 sec range.
Hawaii: Swell on the increase Monday (7/31) building to 4 ft @ 18 secs mid-day (7 ft faces with best breaks to 9 ft). Swell holding solid and increasing in consistency on Tuesday with swell 5.2 ft @ 16 secs (8 ft faces with sets to 10 ft) holding through the day. Solid size but lessening energy expected on Wednesday (8/2) with swell dropping from 4.9 ft @ 14-15 secs (7 ft faces with sets to 9 ft). Still solid 14 secs energy expected Thursday (8/3) with swell 3.9 ft @ 13-14 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces) fading slowly through the day. Swell Direction: 190-195 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival Wednesday (8/2) with swell building to 2.3 ft @ 18 secs late (4 ft faces and inconsistent). By Thursday (8/3) swell to be peaking at 3.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (6 ft faces with sets to 7 ft at best breaks) holding through the day. Friday swell to continue at 3.9 ft @ 15 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces) dropping to 3.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Saturday (8/5) then down from there while new swell builds in. Swell Direction 210 degrees Note: These sizes are likely a bit overstated based on historical experience, so plan accordingly.
North California: Expect swell arrival Wednesday (8/2) with swell building to 2.6 ft @ 18 secs late (4 ft faces and inconsistent). By Thursday (8/3) swell to be peaking at 3.9 ft @ 16 secs (6 ft faces with sets to 7.5 ft at best breaks) holding through the day. Friday to continue the trend with swell 3.9 ft @ 15 secs (5.5-6.0 ft faces) dropping to 3.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces) on Saturday (8/5). Swell Direction 210-215 degrees Note: These sizes are likely a bit overstated based on historical experience, so plan accordingly.
Storm #5S - Hawaii
A secondary kink in the isobars from the fading remnants of Storm #3S (above) developed southeast of New Zealand on Friday (7/28) regenerating confirmed 40-45 kt southwest winds near 52S 166W. These winds were aimed 20 degrees east of the 185 degree path to Hawaii (not bad) and right up the 205 degree path to California but totally shadowed by Tahiti. They were getting good traction on the already well-agitated ocean surface generating 30 ft seas Friday AM at 53S 170W best suited for Hawaii. In the evening the system tracked slowly east with winds confirmed at the same speed repositioned at 47S 162W and aimed 40 degrees east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii but well at California up the 205 degree path but still totally shadowed by Tahiti. 32 ft seas were modeled at 50S 165W. A closed 968 mb low was in-place Saturday AM but the bulk of the winds had faded, down to 35 kts roughly centered at 44S 147W aimed northeast targeting California up the 197 degree path and unshadowed but east of the Hawaii swell window. 35 ft seas were modeled at 45S 157W emerging into the clear for California (203 degree path). But the Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch and only reported seas of 29-31 ft there, with a similarly weak report 6 hours later. Seas were modeled fading to 30 ft at 43S 148W in the evening though all fetch of interest had dissipated.
On Sunday (7/30) a small core of 40-45 kts winds were modeled to redevelop at 52S 145W aimed right up the 195 degree path to California (unobstructed) continuing in the the evening. A tiny area of 30 ft seas to result at 50S 140W building to 32 ft in the evening. This system to effectively fizzle out over the day Monday with lingering 32 ft seas modeled at 45S 135W (189 degree path to California).
This storm poses two problems, neither helpful to whatever swell might arrive in California. First off the Tahitian swell shadow will certainly take a good wack off any size this one produces during it's early life when it was strongest. Secondly the Jason-1 satellite reading suggest the model well overstated sea heights, another negative factor. Conversely Hawaii was free and clear of any obstruction so whatever this storm produces will reach the South Shore unimpeded. Since no satellite passes occurred early in the storms life, we're forced to go with the WW-3 estimates, but there is much uncertainty as to their accuracy for HAwaii, which means the resulting surf forecast could be on the high side. Be forewarned. All that said, we're projecting a small significant class swell push into Hawaii with moderate utility class energy for California.
Hawaii: Expect small energy starting to arrive Thursday afternoon (8/3) with swell 2 ft @ 18 secs (3-4 ft faces) but hidden by remnants of Swell #4S. Swell to start peaking at 3 ft @ 16 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces) late Friday (8/4) then possibly 4.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (6 ft faces) on Saturday (8/5). A steady decline forecast by Sunday (8/6) with swell 3.6 ft @ 13 secs early (4.0-4.5 ft faces) and heading down. Swell Direction: 185 degrees Note: These sizes are likely a bit overstated based on confirmed sea height readings from the Jason-1 satellite.
South California: Expect swell arrival Sunday (8/6) with swell building to 3 ft @ 17 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces and inconsistent). Swell Direction 200-205 degrees Note: Plan on something less than what is forecast due to inconsistencies between confirmed Jason-1 satellite sea height data and what was depicted by the WW3 wavemodel.
North California: Expect swell arrival Sunday (8/6) with swell building to 3 ft @ 17 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces and inconsistent). Swell Direction 200-205 degrees Note: Plan on something less than what is forecast due to inconsistencies between confirmed Jason-1 satellite sea height data and what was depicted by the WW3 wavemodel.
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 high pressure to become better established in the far Eastern Pacific off North CA with the Cape Mendocino gradient becoming better defined. Northwest winds 25-30 kts forecast there building to 35 kts by Friday (8/4) with trades over the HAwaiian Islands become established then at 20 kts and holding through the weekend. Conversely the Mendocino gradient to fade out quickly on Saturday. The models also suggest some form of low pressure originating off Kamchatka on Tuesday (8/1) tracking east and building the northern Gulf of Alaska by Thursday with 30-35 kt west winds targeting the PAcific Northwest for 24 hours. But these winds to be positioned a fair distance away from the coast and whatever seas are generated to be well decayed upon arrival, assuming the low even develops (odds low). In short, sloppy windswell for Hawaiian East Shores and marginally better northwest windswell expected for North/Central California.
Beyond 72 hours things start improving by Friday (8/4) as a ill-defined 968 mb low pressure system is forecast near 145W producing 35 kt winds aimed northwest targeting mostly California and Tahiti with sideband energy for Hawaii. It to fade fast though before any real seas develop, but another one is forecast building under New Zealand early Saturday (8/5) with 40-45 kts winds pushing east and continuing into Sunday. Yet another one is forecast behind that too. But all are to be fast moving getting little purchase on the oceans surface, limiting seas generation to below the 30 ft level. Still, the pattern looks somewhat promising if the jetstream aloft could just provide a little more room and energy to stimulate these low pressure pulses.
Details to follow...
2006 Wave of Compassion: The 2006 Wave of Compassion is a sweepstakes style fundraiser for SurfAid International; a non-profit humanitarian aid organization on a mission to improve the health of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing. This October, one grand-prize winner and guest will go on an all expense paid surf/cultural boat trip to the Mentawai Islands and North Sumatra. The Wave of Compassion trip is a chance to raise awareness and funds. Through the support of Surfline, Indies Trader Marine Adventures, FUEL TV, Reef, Jedidiah, Cobian, Anarchy Eyewear, Wave Riding Vehicles, Kandui Resort, Saraina Koat Mentawai, and a many other supporters, Wave of Compassion's ultimate goal is to raise $250,000 for SurfAid International. If you're interested, you have have until September 1st to enter. There's a suggested donation of $10 - but donating more increases the odds of winning the grand prize, or other prizes. Learn more at the Wave of Compassion website: http://www.waveofcompassion.org/
New Content - QuikCAST's and Satellite Altimetry: Stormsurf has been busy this winter putting some new things together. First up is two new QuikCAST's for the Northeast US Coast, one for Cape Hatteras-to-Virginia Beach and another for New Jersey-to-New York. Check them out Here
Also we now provide Jason-1 Altimetry data overlaid on our Wavewatch III wave models. Take a look Here
Free Stormsurf Stickers - Get your free stickers! - More details Here
Read all the latest news and happenings on our News Page here
Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table