On Tuesday (8/14) Northern CA surf was barely waist high and weak. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was thigh high. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were thigh high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore had some waist high waves. The East Shore report was not available.
North/Central California was only seeing a smattering of local windswell, and not even hardly rideable at that. Southern California was not really rideable except in Orange County, and then limited to only breaks that focus tiny windswell and tinier background southern hemi dribbles. Hawaii was flat on the North Shore with building easterly windswell courtesy of the interaction of Hurricane Flossie tot he southeast and high pressure to the north. The South Shore was getting wrap-around easterly windswell. The North Pacific was calm other than Hurricane Flossie pushing under the Hawaiian Islands and Typhoon Sepat a bit east of the Philippines. But no large scale weather systems were in-play. The South Pacific remained in hibernation, but the models suggest marked improvement in the southeast by the weekend with energy aimed towards the US mainland, Central and South America. With some luck a swell might develop. And at the same time a gale is forecast for the eastern Gulf of Alaska. That is a long shot, but might provide the first taste of a turn towards a Fall pattern. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (8/14) for the North Pacific indicated virtually no energy of interest with all energy pushing over the Bering Sea other than a backdoor trough pushing off Canada, forming a bubble off the Pacific Northwest, then returning inland over Oregon. Winds were only 90 kts, not offering any hope for surface level development yet. Beyond 72 hours a new trough is to develop off the Kuril Islands pushing east with winds barely up to 140 kts on Friday, all moving towards the Gulf of Alaska where the backdoor trough is to still persist. No direct hope for surface level low pressure development yet, but a possible convergence of these two upper level energy sources looks possible. Beyond 72 hours, sure enough, the Kuril trough to start merging with the Gulf trough in the Gulf, with 120 kts winds aimed due south towards California over the weekend, with a broader yet weaker tough persisting over the Northern Gulf well into the week beyond. Some support for surface level low pressure development possible mainly over the weekend.
At the surface today high pressure at 1032 mbs remained centered well north of Hawaii in the northwestern Gulf of Alaska. It was ridging south forming a bit of a gradient with Hurricane Flossie positioned just south of the Big Island of Hawaii. This was generating 20-25 kts northeast winds that were building over the Hawaiian Islands resulting in building short period local easterly windswell pushing into exposed easterly shores there. Otherwise weak low pressure was off the California coast at 1016 mbs, making for mostly light winds there and no real windswell generation potential. No other macro level weather features of interest were in-play. Over the next 72 hrs through Friday (8/17) Hurricane Flossie to weaken while tracking west-northwest away from the Hawaiian Islands with easterly windswell generation potential fading as it moves out. The high pressure system in the Gulf to sink south some and start ridging east, forming the usual summertime pressure gradient along the Central CA coast with 25 kt northwest winds building off Pt Conception late Thursday building north and expanding it's footprint into North CA late Friday. In parallel as the high pressure flattens and sinks tradewinds to start picking up over the Hawaiian Islands late Friday in the 15-20 kts range, with short period local windswell a likely possibility. But of more interest is the supposed formation of low pressure near the dateline and south of the Aleutians pushing east. No swell producing fetch expected immediately, but it is to be pushing east in to the Gulf by Friday with 30 kt west winds building aimed well at and a bit west of Oregon. Possible windswell developing in the days beyond.
On Tuesday (8/14) Hurricane Flossie was located 165 nmiles south of Hilo Hawaii with sustained winds 90 kts. It was tracking west-northwest at 9 kts with no change in motion expected. The Big Island was under a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch. Gale force winds were moving over Hawaii. Over the next 24 hours Flossie to be weakening, with winds down to 75 kts positioned well south of Oahu early Wednesday morning and continuing west-northwest while weakening. Easterly windswell from the interaction of Flossie with high pressure well to the north was generating moderate short period windswell pushing into easterly shores of the Hawaiian Islands and expected to continue through Wednesday, with winds turning more to the southeast after Flossies eye passes south of any fixed point and windswell generation fading. One would have expected a decent sized longer period swell to hit the Big Island from when Flossie was east of there. Inspecting buoy 51004 (southeast of Hawaii) which was 60 nmiles north of the storms center, peak swell hit late Monday afternoon continuing into the evening with seas 16-17 ft @ 11 secs with east winds 30-35 kts. Swell reached 10 ft @ 12.5 secs. This leads us to believe most swell energy generated by the storm was confined to it's north quadrant very near the eye and passed south of the buoy, moving in the same direction as the storm itself. No energy of interest was being generated by it's backside which would be directed north towards the south shores of the Hawaiian Islands. This confirms our original suspicion that the Big Islands will receive all the easterly swell and shadow anything else from reaching the other islands. Will have confirmation of this on Wednesday.
On Tuesday AM (8/14) Typhoon Sepat was just east of the Philippines with sustained winds 100 kts. A turn to the northwest is expected momentarily with gradual strengthening to 125 kts expected on Thursday (8/16) with landfall expected over southern Taiwan late Friday, eventually pushing into mainland China thereafter. No swell generation potential suggested for our forecast area.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Tuesday (8/12) high pressure was well out at sea and weak low pressure was in-between it (off Oregon) and the California coast, resulting in a weak pressure pattern locally and a light wind regime. The high to try and squeeze in under the low a little Wednesday resulting in a slight increase in northwest winds Wednesday (10-15 kts) and stronger Thursday (20-25 kts off Pt Conception). Local chop starting to develop. By Friday the local low is to be north and out of the picture with high pressure in control and 20-25 kts northwest winds blowing down the length of the Central CA coast (though Southern CA to remain shadowed as usual). Poor local conditions expected. New low pressure to start building off Oregon on Saturday (8/18) with winds starting to fade. High pressure to dissolve after that with local wind 20 kts or less Sunday on into early the following week.
Tuesdays jetstream charts (8/14) for the South Pacific remained highly unfavorable with the southern branch of the jet depressed well to the south tracking west to east over the Ross Ice Shelf and totally icelocking any systems trying to develop in the area. No support for surface level swell producing systems. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (8/17) a trough is to finally try and start developing under New Zealand Wednesday (8/15) tracking east and building slightly, pushing into the Southeast Pacific but still not enough to really support any low pressure development at the oceans surface. Beyond 72 hours that trough is to finally start looking almost acceptable with 100 kt winds pushing northeast free-and-clear of Antarctic Ice, providing limited support for surface level low pressure development. That to hold into Monday (7/20), then more strong west winds in the upper levels to pushing into the Southeast Pacific shutting things down.
At the surface today a tiny low was trying to organize well south of Tahiti generating 40 kts winds aimed due north. But it's to be very short-lived and is not expected to get any traction on the oceans surface. Otherwise high pressure was in control of the Southeast and Southwest Pacific, suppressing storm development in those areas. Over the next 72 hours a little 960 mbs low is supposed to push under New Zealand pushing to the Central Pacific Thursday (8/16) while strong high pressure at 1040 mbs holds just east of New Zealand, resulting in a gradient and development of a broad area of 35-40 kts winds aimed almost northeast near 58S 155W. 29 ft seas developing at 57S 160W just off the edge of the Ross ice Shelf. Friday that fetch to build to 40-45 kts reaching further north to 52S 140W with seas to 36 ft in that region, aimed 30 degrees east of the 190 degree path to California and totally outside the Hawaiian Swell window. this fetch to be fading late but more energy is to be behind it streaming off the Ross ice Shelf into ice free clear waters on the Southeast Pacific. Some form of 15-16 sec period swell to possibly be in the water heading somewhat towards the California coast for early the week of 8/27 though mostly focused on Central America and Peru.
Chile Storm (Southern CA)
Also a little storm formed just off Chile Saturday-Monday (8/13) generating up to 50-55 kts winds aimed due north over a moderate size fetch area and producing 30-35 ft seas confirmed by the QuikSCAT satellite in the vicinity of 53-40N and 95-105W. These seas were much higher than what the Wavewatch III wavemodel would have one believe. This one was well outside the traditional California swell window but some energy is likely traveling on that due north path and will likely wrap into breaks in southern California with good southeast exposure. Swell arrival expected late Sunday (8/19) at 1.6 ft @ 18 secs (2.5 ft faces) building to 2.3 ft @ 16 secs Monday (3.5-4.0 ft faces). swell fading Tuesday from 2.3 ft @ 14-15 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 165 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 a trough in the jetstream over the Gulf of Alaska to help fuel the development of low pressure at the oceans surface. On Saturday (8/18) the low to start wrapping up just off the Oregon coast with pressure 988 mbs and winds building to 35-40 kts pushing right into Oregon, and 30-35 kts wrapping around the western quadrant aimed at California down the 315+ degree great circle path. Seas to 20 ft pushing towards both locales. These winds to build to near 40 kts early Sunday morning aimed like before with seas holding, then the whole system to start pushing inland over Vancouver Island late in the day. Assuming this all plays out as forecast, large windswell expected for Oregon with a decent push of 11 sec period windswell moving into California early the following week (8/20) from a very northerly angle.
No other swell producing sources to follow with high pressure dissolving and a neutral pressure pattern settling in.
Beyond 72 hours the models indicate a second 968 mbs low to be developing in the south Central Pacific tracking fast to the northeast. By Saturday (6/18) a moderate patch of 45-50 kts winds to be acting on an already agitated sea state generating seas near 40 ft at 53S 133W aimed 30 degrees east of the 188 degree path to California and focused mainly on Central America. More swell possibly to be heading northeast. The low to be tracking east fast and out of the California swell window by Sunday. Assuming all this comes to pass (a rather bold assumption at this early date) some form or rideable utility class swell with period in the 16-17 sec range seems likely for California early the week of 8/27.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table