On Thursday (9/8) Northern CA surf was waist high or less and weak. South facing breaks were waist high on the sets. Central California surf was waist high with sets to maybe chest high at the best breaks. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to waist high. The LA area southward into Orange County was waist to chest high with best breaks rarely a little bigger. Southward to San Diego waves were waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was maybe waist high. The East Shore was chest high with bigger sets.
Weak southern hemi swell was providing for rideable surf in Southern California giving it the top billing today, but it really wasn't much. Windswell still dominates Hawaii's eastern shores. There are two systems worthy of note. A strong storm has developed Well south of Tahiti and is really starting to whip things up. This is looking good, especially from Tahiti and targets to it's east including California. And remnants of Typhoon Nabi are forecast to emerged into the far Western Pacific on Friday (9/9) generating seas radiating towards Hawaii and less for California. The southern hemi storm on Thursday is looking to be the best overall unless your on Hawaii's North Shore. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (9/8) at the jetstream level a steep pinched trough was positioned over the dateline with 130 kt winds flowing around it. The thinness of the trough was likely limiting much from developing at the oceans surface. Otherwise a big ridge was over the East Pacific eliminating any storm development potential there (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the steep trough is to quickly pinch off an evaporate with no surface level storm development suggested. A new broader trough is to push off Kamchatka Friday (9/9) pushing east with a brief burst of 130 kts winds blowing under it, then quickly weakening as it tracks towards the dateline through Sunday (9/11). Some surface level development likely, but short-lived.
At the surface on Tuesday strong high pressure at 1032 mbs had moved east and was now controlling the Gulf of Alaska wit a secondary high just west of the dateline. A weak low at 996 mbs was sandwiched in between over the Aleutians. The QuikSCAT satellite actually picked up a brief burst of 50 kt winds in this lows south quadrant Wednesday night (9/7)centered at 47N 175W, but it only lasted about 12 hours so no swell is expected to result. Of far more interest was the extratropical remnants of Typhoon Nabi positioned just west of the Kuril Islands and starting to push out into the Northwest Pacific. A tiny area of 50-55 kts winds were confirmed venturing east of the Islands this AM, but no seas were being generated just yet (animation here). Over the next 72 hours (through the weekend) the most interesting feature is to be ET Nabi (details below). Otherwise no swell producing fetch forecast with generalized high pressure back in control of the North Pacific. Some degree of moderate easterly trades to continue impacting Hawaii's east shores with much north winds expected along the Pacific Northwest coast into North California likely generating sizeable windswell there.
More model data here
Extratropical Storm Nabi
Thursday night (9/8) pressure in this system is to be 976 mbs with a small fetch of 50-55 kt west winds continuing to push into clear unobstructed waters east of the Northern Kuril Islands. Seas building to 27 ft centered at 48N 155E aimed well towards Hawaii down the 316 degree path but north of any route to California.
On Friday (9/9) the system is to continue east and fading with pressure up to 980 mbs and winds dropping from 40-45 kts in the AM and 35-40 kts late. These winds to be aimed well up the 310 degree path to North California and 30 degrees east of the 316 degree path to Hawaii. Seas 30 ft early at 46N 163E dropping to 28 ft.
By Saturday (9/10) Nabi is to have reached the dateline and tracking northeast over the Aleutian Islands. No fetch of interest is to be left as high pressure starts building underneath the Aleutians.
Current data suggest some decent swell to reach the northern shores of the Hawaiian Islands starting Monday (9/12) at 4 PM HST with period at 17-18 secs. Peak size to arrive about 11 PM holding into 8 AM Tuesday (9/13) with pure swell 4.5-5.0 ft @ 15-16 secs (7-8 ft faces with best breaks 9 ft) assuming all evolves as forecast.
California Offshore Forecast
Thursday mornings local charts (9/8) indicated strong high pressure at 1032 mbs was centered right smack in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska while low pressure was inland generating brisk north winds at 20-25 kts along the entire Canadian coast south to just off San Francisco. This same pattern is to continue through late Saturday (9/10) likely generating copious lumpy windswell theoretically peaking Saturday with swell 7.6 ft @ 9 secs (6-7 ft faces) but with rather ragged conditions. Low pressure is to fade and the Gulf high is to track a little west by Monday (9/12) resulting in the death of the gradient and associated north winds. So windswell is to fade out then with no return forecast through the end of next Friday (9/16).
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
Thursday's (9/8) jetstream charts indicated a broad moderate trough set up south of Tahiti. This was the first real break in the high pressure pattern that has been in control aloft for the past 6-7 weeks. Winds flowing up the west side of the trough were at 130 kts, certainly looking capable of supporting some surface level storm development (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the trough is to persist through Saturday (9/10) then a new ridge is to start pushing east from under New Zealand returning the region to a semi zonal (flat) flow, though there is still to be a fair amount of space between the jet and Antarctic ice that something could form at the surface, though nothing in obvious.
At the surface today only one thing mattered, that was Storm # 5S centered in the Central South Pacific (see details below) (animation here). Over the next 72 hours after Storm #5S dissipates a series of 2 much smaller system are to develop in it's wake in the same area, following each other in rapid succession. The first is to produce a short blast of 40-45 kts winds aimed north and the second is to have 55-60 kt west winds aimed towards Chile, bit both are to be very small in areal coverage and only last about 24 hours. But since there is to be much agitation from Storm #5S already in-place, 30 ft seas are forecast from the first one on Saturday (9/10) and possibly 38 ft seas from the second on Sunday (9/11). Whatever swell they generate will be indistinguishable from the much larger swell preceding it.
More model data here
On Wednesday PM (9/7) a complex storm start developing just east of the dateline with pressure 974 mbs. Contrary to the model projections winds were confirmed at 50-60 kts over a small but expanding area centered at 50S 159W aimed north-northeast towards Tahiti and 15 degrees east of the 180 degree path to Hawaii 15 degrees west of the 206 degree path to South CA. The storm itself was tracking northeast.
On Thursday AM (9/8) pressure was 956 mbs a 960 nmile long area of 50-60 kts winds centered at 49S 155W aimed almost due north towards the same targets (15 degrees east of the 177 degree path to Hawaii and 20 degree west of the 203 degree path to South CA). Seas modeled at 32 ft at 49S 157W but suspect they were higher and expanding in coverage. In the evening the storm started to occlude and fading but, not too fast. Pressure was 958 mbs with winds confirmed at 50 to near 60 kts centered at 46S 148W aimed just the same as before. Seas were modeled at 43 ft centered at 48S 152W.
On Friday AM (9/9) the storm continued east with winds fading fast, though still at 50 kts centered at 48S 144W aimed the same, basically north-northeast. They were blowing 30 degrees east of the 169 degree path to Hawaii and right up the 196 degree path to South California. Seas were modeled at 42 ft centered at 45S 147W. By the evening the storm is to totally be gone with no swell producing fetch left and seas from previous days fetch decaying to 39 ft centered at 45S 140W. This system is to be dead.
Swell Generation Potential
The models did a reasonably good job on this storm. There were 48 hours of 50 kt winds wit 36 hours to 60 kt winds aimed just east of Hawaii, right at Tahiti and just west of California with a solid core of 60 kt winds covering nearly 1000 nmiles of fetch length for 24 hours. This is very good. On the down side is the fetch area is tracking east rather than northeast, not allowing for any virtual fetch to develop (i.e. where seas are not able to escape the fetch but instead keep getting more energy added on top because the fetch is traveling the same direction as the seas it produces). A little more fetch time would have been nice too, but given the total lack of any other real swell potential this summer, this is a good one and will produce a significant class swell. Tahiti is to be right in the center of the bulls eye and positioned 1800 nmiles south of the swell source, allowing plenty of distance for the swell to clean up and organize but experience very little unrequired decay. Very large, long period clean energy swell to hit there. Hawaii is a bit on the western edge of the swell spread with most energy to be sweeping just east of the Islands. Still very solid long period swell is expected. And California is to be just a bit west of the core fetch, but not far off. Again solid long period significant class swell to hit there too. This to be a good one, though a bit of a wait between sets with just a normal wave count per set.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting Wednesday (9/14) at 4 AM HST with period at 21 secs and size coming up fairly fast, reaching 3.2 ft @ 18-19 secs by sunset (5-6 ft faces with bigger sets to 8 ft). Swell to start peaking at 6 AM Thursday (9/15) with swell 4.9 ft @ 17 secs (7-8 ft with sets 10-12 ft - biggest early) and holding through the day. Swell fading a little overnight but still solid at sunrise Friday (9/16) with swell 4.8 ft @ 15 secs (6-7 ft with sets to 8-9 ft early), dropping to 14 secs by sunset. A steady decline expected through Saturday with period at 13 secs all day. Swell Direction: 173-181 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday (9/15) at noon PM with period 21 secs and size tiny but coming up perhaps rideable at sunset with swell 2.5 ft @ 20 secs (4-5 ft faces with sets to 6 ft). Size on the increase through the day Friday (9/16) with swell peaking at 8 PM swell 4.4 ft @ 17 secs (7-8 ft with sets to 9 ft+ at breaks with good bathymetry e.g. 2-3 ft overhead with sets to 4 ft over). Swell continuing to peak through 7 AM Saturday (9/17) with swell 4.4 ft @ 17 secs (7-8 ft with sets to 9 ft). Swell holding through the day, maybe down a little late as the sets dwindle and period drops to 16 secs. Size fading some on Sunday (9/18) with swell 4.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (5-6 ft) with period finally dropping to the 14 secs range at 6 PM. Size fading through the day Monday (9/19) as period drops to 13 secs. Swell Direction: 199-205 degrees
North California: Expect swell arrival starting Thursday (9/15) at 11 PM with period 21 secs and size tiny but coming up. Size on the increase through the day Friday (9/16) with swell coming up to 3.8 ft @ 18-20 secs late (6-7 ft faces with sets to 9 ft - 1-2 ft overhead with sets to 4 ft over). Swell to peak starting 2 AM Saturday (9/17) through noon with swell 4.4 ft @ 17 secs (7-8 ft with sets to 9 ft). Size fading some on Sunday (9/18) with swell 4.2 ft @ 15-16 secs (6-7 ft) with period finally dropping to the 14 secs range at 3 AM on Monday (9/19), trickling out through the day. Swell Direction: 198-203 degrees
Tahiti: This is to be ground zero with swell hitting on Saturday (10/10) at 10 PM HST with period at 20-21 secs and size coming up fast. Swell to peak Sunday (10/11) at 1 AM through 1 PM with swell 10.4-10.9 ft @ 17-18 secs (18-19 ft Hawaiian at the best breaks). Winds southeast 10-12 kts making a slight turn more easterly late. Slight southerly short period lump in the water from south winds 300 nmiles south of the island. Swell fading out through the day Monday. Swell Direction: 175-180 degrees
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Thursdays (9/8) upper level models indicate that beyond 72 hours another trough is to push off Kamchatka by Tuesday (9/130 but it's to be directing al energy north and into the bering Sea while a large ridge persists in the east. No surface level storm development suggested through Friday (9/16).
Beyond 72 hours at the surface high pressure is to continue ruling the East Pacific dominating the Gulf of Alaska but positioned more north and west than days before. This positioning to eliminate north winds along the California coast but continue a rather brisk tradewind flow just northeast of the Hawaiian Islands and likely continuing to generate some degree of windswell, though not a much as in days past. Another broad low is forecast to push off Kamchatka on Tuesday (9/1230 but is to get redirected northeast over the Western Aleutians before it's 30-35 kt westerly winds get much purchase on the oceans surface. A rather calm pattern to follow.
Thursdays upper level models (9/8) indicate that beyond 72 hours the outlook is to return to the same old pattern with yet another strong ridge pushing under New Zealand eventually pushing the entire southern branch of the jet over the Ross Ice Shelf by Tuesday (9/13) shutting any hope for surface level storm development down.
At the surface beyond 72 hours out another storm is forecast on Wednesday (9/14) again in the deep Central south Pacific. A 950 mb low is to develop over the Ross Ice shelf sending just a small bit of 45-50 kts fetch building to 55 kts over open waters aimed due east. If this happens some seas are forecast to develop. This still seems a bit unlikely though. Will monitor.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table