On Tuesday (9/5) Northern CA surf was peaking out at thigh high and weak. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were flat. Central California surf was thigh high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were effectively flat. The LA Area southward to Orange County was up to waist high on the sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist high with some bigger peaks on the sets. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high with some bigger sets. The East Shore was waist high.
A mix of small junk was producing something rideable in Southern California with many spots waist high, but up north it was flat. Hawaii had some rideable surf on the South Shore and small dribbles on the East Shore from the trades, but nothing noteworthy. Things to start improving with small Southern Hemi swell starting to show at the buoys south of Hawaii, then expected to move into California for the weekend. Some small to moderate northwest windswell in the mix for California first though. Typhoon Ioke held a glimmer of hope, but that is all a distant memory now. No other swell producing systems are charted, so make the most of what you can get. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (9/5) continue indicating a more energetic flow building, but for the most part it to be unfavorable. A small trough is forecast in the northern Gulf of Alaska over the coming weekend (9/9) while a huge ridge starts building just inland of Russia pushing well north into the Bering Sea by Monday of next week and totally shutting any potential for surface level storm development down everywhere except the northeastern Gulf through at least Tuesday.
At the surface today a weak patch of high pressure at 1024 mbs was off North California ridging up into Canada with a second lobe over the dateline and Typhoon Ioke tracking north off Japan (see details below). In all a lackluster pattern. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (9/8) high pressure to take over the North Pacific linked unbroken from California to the Kuril Islands. A bit of a pressure gradient to develop off Cape Mendocino producing north winds at up to 30 kts there Thursday while weak trades push over the Hawaiian Islands with the commensurate short period windswell developing. Any storm energy to be confined to the Bering Sea.
Extratropical Storm Ioke was positioned east of North-Central Japan with sustained winds 60 kts and turning towards the northeast and accelerating. A slow decay is forecast over the next 24 hours with no additional detailed reports to be issued from the Hurricane Center. The models indicate Ioke to track fast northeast into the Bering Sea Wednesday afternoon and join forces with a cold-core low there with near 50 kt winds forecast late that evening, but all isolated north of the Aleutian Islands and no fetch pushing over open waters of the North Pacific. The storm to sit there through Friday with no swell generation potential.
Tropical Depression Kristy has regenerated and is back to Tropical Storm status with sustained winds 40 kts on a westerly heading 900 nmiles south-southwest of San Diego. This system to continue heading west with minor strengthening to 50 kts expected over the next 48 hours, then a slow decay to start settling in again. No swell generation potential for Hawaii or California, though this one might be worth monitoring relative to the Big Island long term.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
High pressure at 1026 mbs to start building off California on Wednesday (9/6) with gradient north winds getting established off Cape Mendocino at 25 kts, but still light winds expected over local waters south of Pt Reyes. On Thursday winds to build to near 30 kts producing increasing windswell while the local pattern southward remains decent. The gradient to begin a quick fade Friday and gone by Saturday with windswell fading with it and a light northwest flow holding nearshore.
On Tuesday (9/5) a fully split jetstream pattern was in effect with the northern branch flowing flat west-to-east from north of New Zealand into Chile with no winds over 120 kts indicated. The southern branch was a mirror image of the northern branch only positioned south over the 60-65S latitude flowing over the northern Ross Ice Shelf. No support for surface level storm development suggested. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (9/8) the pattern to remain the same if not dipping even more over the Ross Ice Shelf with no suggestion of surface level storm development. Beyond 72 hours more of the same expected with the southern branch pushing over Antarctic Ice over the width of the South Pacific Ocean until Sunday (9/10), when a trough is to develop over the mid-South Pacific pushing well to the north by Tuesday (9/12) with 130 kt winds flowing to the north on the troughs west side (good), but that seems a bit of a reach.
At the surface no swell producing fetch of interest was occurring and none is expected over the next 72 hours with all winds pushing fast west to east over the Ross Ice Shelf.
Storm Under New Zealand
A storm started developing under New Zealand late Monday (8/28) tracking east with winds confirmed at 45-50 kts. Those winds were aimed due east or 20 degrees east of the 215 degree great circle path to California and 45 degrees east of the 201 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were building. On Tuesday AM the storm held it's strength with pressure 948 mbs. 45-50 kt west winds again were aimed 25 degrees east of the 213 degree path to California and 50 degrees east of the 199 degree path to Hawaii. Seas modeled at 32 ft at 57S 160E but the Jason-1 satellite made a pass directly over the fetch and reported seas in the 32-35 ft range wit one reading to 37 ft. This is a good sign. By evening winds died back to 40-45 kts aimed 30 degrees off the 211 degree path to California and 55 degrees off the 194 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 38 ft at 57S 172E. One last bit of fetch remained Wednesday AM at 35-40 kts aimed 40 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and 60 degree off the 191 degree path to Hawaii. Seas modeled to 39 ft at 55S 179W. The Jason-1 satellite made another pass directly over the fetch reporting seas 34-38 ft over a decent sized area with one reading to 39.4 ft (http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_jason_anim.cgi?a=swpac_alt), consistent with the wave models. Residual seas from previous days fetch were modeled at 36 ft Wednesday PM at 55WS 170W.
The storm evolved quite close to forecast expectations and the wave models were in good agreement with multiple telemetry passes received from the Jason-1 satellite through the storms life. This suggests the models were accurate. But there are issues here. While Hawaii was much closer to the core fetch significantly reducing any swell decay experienced over the journey to the South Shore, the fetch itself was aimed well east of any path up to the Islands (45-60 degrees), significantly limiting the size and consistency of whatever swell is expected to arrive. It will all be sideband energy. Conversely winds were pushing better towards California, 20-40 degrees off the great circle path (which isn't great), but California itself was a very long ways away from the swell source, ensuring lot's of swell decay. And even worse, the Tahitian Island were sitting smack in the middle of the great circle paths late in the storms life for South CA, adding the detrimental effects of shadowing. For the most part North CA was OK. And in both cases the fetch/storm was not traveling northeast towards our intended targets, further limiting swell generation potential. Small to moderate utility class swell is the best hope, and even that might be optimistic. Swell of 3 ft @ 17 secs is all Hawaii will see (5.0-5.5 ft faces) on Wed (9/6). California to see maybe 2.5 ft @ 17 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces). Most energy appears set on a direct course towards mainland Mexico and Costa Rica, though the swell decay argument still applies for those locales.
Hawaii: Expect the swell to start showing Tuesday (9/5) at sunrise and pushing up through the day with period at 20 secs. Swell to 2.3 ft @ 19 secs late (4.4 ft faces). Swell to peak through the day Wednesday (9/6) with swell 3 ft @ 17 secs (5 ft faces - up to 6.5 ft at the best breaks). Size holding decently Thursday (9/7) with swell 3 ft @ 15 secs (4.5 ft faces) then heading down Friday (9/8) with swell 3 ft @ 14 secs early and fading (4 ft faces). Swell Direction: 191-196 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival Thursday (9/7) around 11 AM with period 20-22 secs and size tiny. Swell coming up through the day Friday finally peaking Saturday (9/9) early morning with pure swell 2.5 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.3 ft faces - up to 5.3 ft peaks best breaks). Swell to hold through early Sunday with swell 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) then start fading late as period drift down to 14 secs by 5 AM Monday. Swell Direction 206-210 degrees.
North California: Expect swell arrival Thursday (9/7) around 3 PM with period 20-22 secs and size tiny. Swell coming up through the day Friday finally peaking Saturday (9/9) morning with pure swell 2.6 ft @ 16-17 secs (4.5 ft faces - up to 5.5 ft peaks best breaks). Swell to hold through early Sunday with swell 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces) then start fading late as period drift down to 14 secs by 5 AM Monday. Swell Direction 208-211 degrees.
Short Lived Gale (Hawaii)
A small fetch setup southeast of New Zealand on Saturday (9/2) generating a small fetch of 40-45 kt winds aimed mostly to the east and not very steady, trying to hold into Sunday. The wave models suggested 35 ft seas Saturday evening at 55S 172W then fading into Sunday AM, but that seems on the high side. The Jason-1 satellite made a pass right over this area late Saturday night and confirmed seas 30-32 ft, a little less than the models suggested. Regardless, we're only talking about a 12 hour window of decent seas. Small sideband energy likely for Hawaii a week out, with Tahiti probably doing better, but nothing for the US mainland of interest.
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 pull back from California with north winds fading off Cape Mendocino late Saturday (9/9) but centered closer to Hawaii with a second center over the dateline continuing the blockade of the greater North Pacific. moderate trades to continue over and east of the Hawaiian Islands for the foreseeable future with some form of small short period easterly windswell ongoing. The remnants of Ioke combined with a cold core low are to join forces in the north Bering Sea generating storm force winds, but not drifting southeast towards the Gulf of Alaska until Sunday, and much less vigorous with winds only 30 kts and fading fast. No swell generation potential suggested. Beyond that high pressure to continue controlling exposed waters, pushing slowly east.
Beyond 72 hours a gale is modeled pushing under New Zealand Fri/Sat (9/16) with 40-45 kts west winds producing up to 40 ft seas Saturday. That seem optimistic though.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table