On Saturday (8/6) Northern CA surf was waist high. South facing breaks were maybe up to waist high. Central California surf was flat. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat. The LA area southward into Orange County was up to waist high at the best breaks. Southward to San Diego waves were near flat. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was waist to chest high.
There is some hope for California now, but the models remain looking poor for Hawaii and points west. A small fetch earlier in the week produced some seas in the Southeast Pacific pushing towards California (both north and South). But the resulting swell will be small. A bit better storm remains on the charts for Monday and Tuesday (8/9) again in the Southeast Pacific focused on California but nothing aimed at Hawaii. After that the charts indicate flatness, with no swell producing fetch suggested. 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 Saturday (8/6) a big ridge was over the Gulf of Alaska suggesting high pressure at the surface. A trough with winds 130 kts was trying to get organized over Eastern Siberia pushing over the Kuril Islands. But as should be expected this time of year things were mostly quiet (animation here). By Tuesday (8/9) a cutoff upper low is to form in the Gulf of Alaska with a large ridge north of it starting to loose it's command while the dominant trough over Siberia pushes off the coast into the Northwestern Pacific with winds 110 kts. There is some suggestion that a surface low might form in association with the cutoff low in the Gulf and a secondary low forming in the trough to the west.
At the surface today the standard East Pacific high pressure system was centered just off Oregon at 1028 mbs with energy sweeping along the Pacific Northwest coast then southwest and fading as it passed well north of Hawaii. This high continued a trade wind flow over the Hawaiian Islands, but not nearly a strong or broad as in previous weeks helping to reduce the easterly windswell there. The winds were stronger along the North California coast reaching up to 25 kts over a tiny area. A weak 1000 mb low was over the dateline just south of the Aleutians producing mainly south winds at 25 kts blowing northward towards the Aleutians along the boarder between it and higher pressure to the east. No swell generation potential (animation here). Over the next 72 hours no real change in the general layout and position of the pressure systems is forecast, with weak high pressure in the Gulf and weak low pressure in the West. Of note is that the Gulf high pressure system is to substantially weaken, dropping to 1020 mbs. Unbelievably gradient fetch off North California is to hold, but not for long. Trades over Hawaii are to surge Monday (8/8) as a tropical wave moves northwest over the Islands, then fading out tot he weakest levels of the summer as the high dissipates.
More model data here
California Offshore Forecast
Saturday mornings local charts (8/4) indicated that high pressure was well established in the eastern Gulf of Alaska centered just off northern Oregon at 1028 mbs. This was generating minimal north winds over the outer waters off Cape Mendocino northward at 20-25 kts. No low pressure was inland to help fuel formation of the normal gradient and stronger north winds there. Minor variation in the strength of the north winds there to continue through Tuesday (8/9) then fading as (believe it or not) low pressure starts building in the Central Gulf late Wednesday (8/10). By Thursday a fully closed 994 mb low is to be spinning with 35-40 kt winds aimed a bit south of California (but close enough), then fading on Friday as winds drop to 25-30 kts then fading out by nightfall. It's highly doubtful this low will develop as modeled, but the prospects are intriguing. If it happens swell will result, but we're not hopeful. More low pressure to build in behind that if one is to believe the models. Most interesting. A possible MJO connection?
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Saturday (8/6) the jetstream charts indicated a solid split of the jet across the Southwest Pacific but they started merging to the east from 120W as a trough was building there. A broad upper high pressure center was in the upper atmosphere between the two branches centered east of New Zealand, no different than in days past. This pattern remains well entrenched and it will take a significant event to change it. Of more interest is the trough in the east, now strong enough to cause the southern branch of the jet to merge with the northern branch, a ray of hope. Winds were 140 kts at the apex of the trough, providing some fuel for surface low development (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the split pattern in the Southwestern Pacific is to remain unchanged but the trough in the east is to amplify with the two branches of the jet remaining joined together. A solid if not expanding opening for surface low development is suggested starting at 140W and continuing all the way to the Chilean coast.
At the surface strong high high pressure remained east of New Zealand at 1032 mbs, through not pushing as far south as in days past. Some minor energy was flowing under it towards the Eastern Pacific where marginally more fertile ground for gale production was developing. A weak surface low at 980 mbs was present there (off Southern Chile) but no swell producing winds were present (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the break in high pressure in the east aloft is to allow some activity at the surface. A 960 mb low is to develop off southern Chile with a gradient developing between it and much higher pressure back towards New Zealand. A broad fetch of 35-40+ kt southwest winds is expected to develop along the border of these two systems near 55S 135W aimed well at California into Central America. This fetch is to continue through late Tuesday (8/9) while slowly migrating east. Seas building to 29 ft by early Monday AM (6/8) near 52S 130W and holding into early Wednesday (6/10) near 41S 115W but now out of the California swell window. Still, this is the best fetch we've seen on the charts for weeks. But to put things in perspective, it is nothing historically remarkable, just some hope, and is only forecast data. Things could change for the worse so don't get your hopes up quite yet.
Southeast Pacific Low
A 956 mb low developed in the far Southeastern Pacific well southwest of Chile on Sunday (7/31) and eventually strengthened with 40 kt winds blowing on Monday (8/1) centered near 58S 117-125W. 29 ft seas were modeled at 58S 120-115W for 12 hours starting late that night, providing some potential for small utility class swell mainly for Southern CA from 180 degrees or less. But by Tuesday AM (8/2) that fetch was fading fast as were it's associated seas.
More model data here
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Saturdays upper level models (8/6) indicate that beyond 72 hours the trough off the Kuril Islands to fade with a ridge replacing it but not before all the energy that was there moves east to feed the developing trough in the Gulf. The Gulf trough meanwhile is to hold pretty well through the workweek and into the weekend eventually undercutting the big ridge there and dragging the jet south through the Southern Gulf. Winds to remain generally very light, but it's certainly better than a big ridge. Some support for a surface low in the Gulf seems possible.
The big story starts on Wednesday (8/10) in association with fading high pressure in the Gulf and an upper low building at the higher levels of the atmosphere. At the surface a weak low is to start circulating with a closed low with pressure at 1000 mbs expected by Thursday (8/11). Surface winds of 35-40 kts are forecast wrapping around the lows east, north and west quadrants pushing some fetch towards Hawaii and possibly California. The low is to hold stationary with no steering currently aloft, producing 30 kt winds aimed like before through Friday afternoon, then fading out. But yet another low is to be moving in from the west by Saturday (8/13) possibly providing more hope.
On Tuesday (7/27) the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) dropped to -14 and has held in that range steadily through today (Thursday 8/4) with a -16 value posted . It gave up a little ground into Saturday with values at -6. A negative SOI is conducive to the development of El Nino. One would want to see a corresponding reversal of tradewinds over the Pacific equator, with the first signs of a breakdown of the trades evidenced west of the dateline starting Thursday (8/4). By Saturday west wind were clearly evidenced to 160E and building eastward. Forecast models suggest this is just the first leading edge of the active phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), a cyclic weather pattern that helps to jump start El Nino. Though it is too late in the year for a full blown El Nino to start forming, a series of active MJO's can help to improve the chances for winter storms and are a catalyst for development of strong tropical systems in the West Pacific (look for them to turn extratropical and curve northeast in the fall). Reversed trades winds and a negative SOI are expected to develop in the West Pacific momentarily and continue through August 22nd. There's also suggestions that this latest active phase of the MJO is responsible for the heavy rains and flooding last week in India.
Saturdays upper level models (8/6) indicated that beyond 72 hours no big changes are forecast in the West but the trough in the East is to hold through late Tuesday (8/9). Then it's to loose it's edge as a strong ridge starts building in from west to east, undercutting the trough and wiping out any hope for storm development at the surface. By Friday (8/12) a fully split jet is expected across the whole of the South Pacific, diving us back into the unfavorable pattern that has dominated for the past few weeks. A large ridge is expected to develop in the West in the northern branch of the jet on Saturday (8/13) just northeast of New Zealand with a trough in front of it, but it seems highly unlikely that anything of interest will result. At least is is some change for this region which has been so locked down in high pressure as of late.
At the surface beyond 72 hours out high pressure that was in the West Pacific is to track east and build into the East Pacific at 1024 mbs, shutting off any chance for storm production there. A new high at 1020 mbs is to start developing northeast of New Zealand sinking south and reaching 1028 mbs by the weekend. A full lockdown of the South Pacific is to be in place with high pressure controlling the entire South Pacific north of 60S (about where the Ross Ice Shelf starts). No hope in sight.
Details to follow...
Proposed Senate Bill To Restrict Free Weather Data Giving it only to Private Companies for re-sell to the Public. If you view the free info from buoys, wave, wind, and weather modles currently provided on this and other sites, prepare to see it end if this bill gets passed. Please write your State Senator to oppose this bill. California Senators are Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. You can cut and paste the letter template at http://www.boatus.com/gov/sb786.htm into the web forms located at: http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/webform.cfm for Barbara Boxer and http://feinstein.senate.gov/email.html for Dianne Feinstein. A few minutes of your time could make a big difference.
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