On Sunday (8/13) Northern CA surf was waist to shoulder high with southwest wind providing ample texture. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat high. Central California surf was waist high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were thigh high at the best breaks with rare waist high sets at the best spots. The LA Area southward to Orange County was flat with a few thigh to waist high sets at the better breaks. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were thigh to waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was waist high.
The flat spell to continue for a bit more, but hope is on the charts. Northern/Central California was seeing a bit of locally generated windswell today but the south end of the state wasn't seeing any of that and no southern hemi swell there to provide a backup. Hawaii had nothing on the South Shore but eastern windswell was providing some barely rideable waves on the East Shore. General flatness to continue a bit longer at all locations but 2 systems are depicted on the charts: one due south of California on Monday providing bare minimal hope and a much better on scheduled for the Central Pacific Wednesday directing energy towards both Hawaii and California. But's it's a crap shoot as to whether it will form as modeled with no swell producing winds actually blowing over the oceans surface yet. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (8/13) 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 positioned 1400 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii riding east into the Pacific Northwest and west to Kamchatka. It was forming a weak pressure gradient with lower pressure over Central California generating north winds at 25 kts off Cape Mendocino CA producing small windswell there and providing a light trade wind flow over the Hawaiian Islands at 15-20 kts making for small short period windswell along east facing shores. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (8/16) the high is to slowly push east dropping slightly to 1028 mbs and reinvigorating the pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino again producing up to 25 kts north winds there and improving the potential for windswell generation Wednesday into Thursday. But because the high is positioned a bit further north than usual with trades over the Islands to remain a bit on the light side, in the 15 kt range with only very limited potential to generate small short period windswell along eastern shores. Weak low pressure to travel over the Eastern Aleutian Islands into the the northern Gulf of Alaska during the period with no indication of any swell potential suggested.
No tropical system were occurring in the East or Central Pacific. Minimal Tropical Storm Wukong was 550 nmiles south of Japan, forecast to track west-northwest into the Sea of Japan reaching minimal hurricane strength on Friday. No indication it was to recurve towards open waters of the North Pacific.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
High pressure in the Gulf of Alaska combined with lower pressure over Central CA continues generating the usual 25 kt northerly flow off Cape Mendocino producing small windswell. This pattern to continue for the foreseeable future with a bit of an increase Wed/Thurs with winds up to 25-30 kts then fading back to 20-25 kts and drifting a bit further north up into Oregon waters late in the week. Small windswell continuing north of Pt Conception. A light to moderate eddy flow (southwest winds) forecast all days except Wednesday and Thursday as the core of the gradient dips south, bring northwest winds and junkier conditions closer to the coast. By Friday the gradient to back off and drift rapidly north with no real winds or light southwest winds back in play. Southern CA to remain in a weak southwesterly eddy flow through the period.
The detailed 5 Day Wind Forecast is included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
On Sunday (8/13) the southern hemi jetstream was showing signs of improvement with the southern branch starting to rise north of the Ross Ice Shelf southeast of New Zealand then tracking east before diving back south near 140W. The northern branch of the jet was more energetic but was flat and tilted south after pushing over the top of New Zealand with winds 150 kts, not favorable for storm development. Over the next 72 hours the big story to be the continued northward rise of the southern branch of the jet forming a nice trough south of Hawaii and Tahiti. In fact the southern branch is to merge with the northern branch by early Tuesday (8/15) with 170 kt winds at it's apex providing a favorable environment for storm development at the surface. This configuration to hold if not improve into Wednesday and early Thursday while drifting east to 130W the fading Friday as a new ridge starts building in from New Zealand shutting the energy flow off. By the weekend a brisk flow to be sweeping over the Ross Ice Shelf, but there are signs a new trough is to be building under New Zealand possibly signaling improvements for the days beyond.
(Updated Monday AM 8/14)
At the surface early Sunday (8/13) low pressure at 952 mbs formed in the far Southeastern Pacific. Winds of 45-50 kts were confirmed by the QuikSCAT satellite at 57S 126W aimed 45 degrees east if the 180-182 degree paths to California. This was not a favorable angle. By evening 40-45 kt winds were confirmed increasing their total areal coverage but aimed even more to the east from 61S 123W or 70 degrees east of the 181 degree path to California). Seas on the increase to 29 ft at 60S 127W. More of the same was occurring Monday AM (8/14) with winds 45-50 kts from 65S 117W aimed even more eastward and sinking south over Antarctic Ice with seas 32 ft at 62S 120W. By Monday evening this system to be tracking fast to the east and outside even the Southern CA swell window with residual seas of 32 ft modeled inside the Southern CA swell window. The big issue for this system is the wind angle. Most fetch was blowing more than 45 degrees (really near 70 degrees) east of any great circle track to California thereby severely limiting whatever swell energy will travel north towards the state. Maybe some minimal utility class swell will push up to Southern CA a week out, but even that is likely optimistic. Even less for Northern CA. No swell energy forecast for Hawaii with the storm totally outside their swell window.
Another system to be forming late in the period. Details posted in the Longterm Forecast.
Southeastern Pacific Gale
On Friday AM (8/4) a 976 mb low started to form in the Southeast Pacific generating a small fetch of 45-50 kt winds by evening aimed north from 50S 138W up the 189 degree path to California but no fetch aimed towards Hawaii. That low held through Saturday AM with 45-50 kt south winds at 47S 135W aimed towards CA up the 188 degree path then fading fast by evening with only a tiny area of residual 40 kts winds remaining. 29 ft seas had ramped up by Saturday AM at 48S 135W building to near 30 ft in the evening at 45S 130W, then faded. Some tiny 1 ft @ 16-17 sec period utility swell expected to result for California starting Sunday (8/13), and evidence of that is showing up on the Southern CA CDIP buoys with swell 1 ft @ 16 secs, though hardly rideable. More of the same forecast Monday with swell 1.3 ft @ 14-15 secs, then fading out. Swell Angle: 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 high pressure to continue in the East Pacific at 1028 mbs centered in the Gulf of Alaska with a second high developing over the northern dateline waters holding stationary on Thursday (8/17). A mild gradient to continue off the Pacific Northwest with north winds 20-25 kts generating small and ineffective windswell for the coasts there into the weekend. The models also suggest a broad area of tropical low pressure to develop east of Hawaii pushing towards the Islands, perhaps interacting with the Pacific High and increasing tradewinds by the weekend, but that is far from certain. No other systems of interest forecast.
Central Pacific Gale (Updated Monday AM 8/14)
Beyond 72 hours the next candidate system was forming just east of New Zealand on Monday AM (8/14) with pressure 964 mbs producing a tiny confirmed fetch of 40-45 kts winds aimed due north from 55S 153W targeting locations near Hawaii. Slightly more fetch to build late Monday into early Tuesday with 35-40 kt south winds continuing in the gales west quadrant aimed better at Hawaii from 60S 165W up the 180-185 degree path. But because the fetch is so small only 20 ft seas modeled, increasing to 26 ft Tuesday AM centered at 55S 165W. This is good for some small 13-14 sec energy pushing towards Hawaii. By Tuesday night this system to start tapping improving jetstream energy, with pressure dropping to 960 mbs and the west side of the storm becoming somewhat better organized, though winds still only in the 40 kts range. 30 ft seas modeled at roughly 53S 160W, good for both Hawaii (181 degrees) and California (201 degrees - just barely unshadowed by Tahiti).
By Wednesday AM (8/16) a broad fetch of 40 kt winds to set up in the gales northwest quadrant centered at 53S 150W aimed northeast and barely providing sideband energy to Hawaii up the 175 degree path and more directly at California up the 196 degree path totally unshadowed by Tahiti. Seas to 32 ft modeled at 53S 153W. By evening the core of the low to become a bit diffuse but 40 kt winds forecast to continue centered at 50S 145W outside the Hawaiian swell window and aimed well towards California up the 195 degree path. Seas building to 35 ft over a moderate area centered at 50S 145W and mainly a function of the continued stress over the oceans surface for an extended period of time. More of the same Thursday AM but with winds down to 35-40 kts centered roughly near 45S 140W with seas 35 ft at that same location heading towards California up the 195 degree path. A quick decay forecast after that as a real storm starts building in west, stealing any remaining energy left behind.
This is not to be a well organized gale (not even a storm), or a strong wind producer. In fact, there is nothing that is be remarkable about it. In it's favor it is to hold together reasonably well for 4 days and traveling reasonably well to the northeast towards California, but not moving as close as was forecast on Sunday. This will likely result in solid utility class swell energy for the state if all goes as modeled, but that's quite a reach at this early date. Hawaii to get some initial energy from this system too, but at it's peak this gale to be well outside the Hawaiian swell window with only utility class swell possible. Will monitor.
On Friday AM (8/18) a new storm, (yes a certified storm) is modeled forming in the northern reaches of the Central Pacific with pressure 952 mbs and winds to 50 kts over a small area aimed due north at 35S 160W targeting Hawaii up the 182 degree path and California up the 210 degree path, just about shadowed by Tahiti (especially SCal). Seas on the increase. By evening a broad fetch of 45 kt winds forecast at 35S 155W aimed 30 degrees east of the 180 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 207 degree path to California, but totally shadowed by Tahiti. 29 ft seas centered at 39S 162W.
On Saturday AM (8/19) 45-50 kts winds to continue in the storms west quadrant centered at 40S 152W aimed somewhat at Hawaii up the 175 degree path and well up the 203 degree path towards California emerging from the Tahitian swell shadow (especially SCal). Seas 32 ft pushing north from 35S 155W. in the evening pressure to still be 956 mbs with 40-45 kts south winds blowing all towards California from 39S 145W up the 197 degree path unshadowed producing 35-37 ft seas from the same location.
Still Sunday AM (8/20) 40-45 kt south winds still forecast aimed towards CA from 40S 140W up the 195 degree path producing 37 ft seas. In the evening winds to drop from 40 kts at 39S 135W aimed right at CA up the 189 degree path with seas still 37 ft.
A quick decay scheduled for Monday with no swell producing fetch forecast.
This remains only a forecast, and a reach of one at that. But the models are providing a nice tease at this early date, making this one something worth watching. Assuming it plays out as forecast a significant class swell seems likely for both Hawaii and California (and especially Tahiti) attributable not only to the wind speeds, fetch size and duration, but also to it's rather northward position, limiting swell decay on the journey into Tahiti and California.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table