On Sunday (9/10) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and clean. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to chest high. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were about waist high, mostly shadowed from the southern hemi swell, though exposed breaks were shoulder to head high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high with a few bigger sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were chest to head high with sets rarely 1 ft overhead. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high with some bigger sets. The East Shore was waist high.
Southern hemi swell in California today was still providing fun rideable surf at all the usual south facing breaks both on the north and south ends of the state. Nothing huge but certainly better than flat. Hawaii was small with almost all the southern hemi swell gone on the South Shore and weak trade wind induced dribbles coming in on the east side. The southern hemi has not given up yet with one moderate system having pushed under new Zealand over the weekend and another scheduled early this week providing some limited hope. Also a gale in the Gulf of Alaska has generated some small energy pushing towards the Pacific Northwest and California, with another forecast north of Hawaii mid-week, but all energy to be pushing towards Alaska. So we're still in a summer like pattern, but Fall is trying to get a foothold. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Sundays jetstream charts (9/10) indicated a very weak trough still running through the Gulf of Alaska providing some very limited hope at the surface. But a huge ridge was setting up over the Kuril Islands and Kamchatka expected to build east through Tuesday totally locking down the West Pacific. A weak trough to develop north of Hawaii on Tuesday but lifting north and decaying fast. The whole mess to fade out and settle into a flat zonal flow next weekend but stronger than weeks past and located further south with 120-130 kts winds flowing west to east south of the Aleutians near 45N. This looks encouraging for the weeks ahead.
At the surface today the fading remnants of extratropical storm Ioke were in the northern Gulf of Alaska with pressure 992 mbs generating 20-25 kt northwest winds. This system actually peaked Saturday AM (9/9) with 35 kt winds aimed at the Pacific northwest fading from 30 kts in the evening but not before generating 20 ft seas pushing to the east into Sunday AM (9/10). This is expected to produce small 3 ft @ 12-13 sec period swell pushing into North CA Tuesday (9/12) good for some 3-4 ft faces late. But windswell to blow it to bits by Wednesday.
Otherwise high pressure at 1024 mbs was centered over the dateline ridging southeast towards California but not quite making it and passing a bit north of the Hawaiian Islands making for light trades there. No swell production potential was indicated. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (9/13) a new 988 mb low is to start developing well north of Hawaii Tues/Wed supported by a trough in the upper levels of the atmosphere. But with high pressure between it and the US mainland, the main gradient is to be aimed to the north, with near 40 kts winds aimed towards Alaska and next to nothing in the gales southwest sector aimed towards Hawaii or the mainland, with no swell expected to result. Instead high pressure to generate the usual pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino Wednesday producing 30 kt north winds pushing 35 kts Thursday and nearly raking the North and Central coasts making for a sloppy mess with sizeable short period local windswell underneath. In Hawaii trades are to dissipate with low pressure in such close proximity to the Islands.
No tropical systems of interest were occurring.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
High pressure at 1020 mbs was a ways off off the coast on Sunday (9/10) expected to hold Monday with no real winds of interest nearshore. Then Tuesday it to build to 1028 mbs pushing un into British Columbia starting to generate increasing winds off Cape Mendocino, building to 1032 mbs Wednesday with near 35 kts winds and starting to push near San Francisco and conditions decaying. By Thursday 35 kt north winds are modeled off Pt Reyes pushing down towards Monterey Bay (offshore) with solid winds raking the coast. Large nearshore chop expected. This situation to decay on Friday with near calm condtions Saturday, then a light to moderate northwest wind to start up again on Sunday.
On Sunday (9/10) a fully split jetstream pattern remained in effect with the northern branch flowing flat west-to-east from north of New Zealand into Chile with the only winds of interest at 140 kts over New Zealand and again off the Chilean coast . The southern branch was much the same only positioned south over the 60S latitude flowing over the northern edge of Ross Ice Shelf with one pocket of 140 kt winds under New Zealand pushing slightly northeast and forming a mild trough perhaps supportive of something at the surface. Over the next 72 hours through Wednesday (9/13) that trough to build a little further north while drifting east, but the winds blowing up into the trough are to slacken, leaving not much to fuel development of a surface level low. Beyond 72 hours that trough to fade and the jet is to start crashing into Antarctica in the east, while another weak trough sets up under New Zealand in the west, but with no strong winds supporting it. Not much hope for surface level storm development, but it's not out of the question either.
At the surface over the next 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in the upper level trough under New Zealand on Sunday AM (9/10) with fetch aimed reasonably well to the northeast with winds building to 45-50 kts by evening at 51S 180W or well up the 213 path to CA and 35 degrees east of the 194 degree path to HI. The storm to drop to 956 mbs Monday AM with 50 kt winds forecast at 52S 170W aimed 25 degrees east of the 208 degree path to California and partially shadowed by Tahiti and 45-50 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 39 ft @ 51S 175W. The storm to start collapsing Monday evening with a small area of 45 kt winds left at 52S 160W aimed more to the north or 20 degrees east of the 180 degree path to Hawaii and well up the 203 degree path to California, emerging from the Tahitian swell shadow. Seas near 40 ft at 50S 165W. A little more fetch left Tuesday AM then fading out fast with 35 ft seas mainly from previous days fetch centered at 50S 155W and fading.
If this comes to pass solid utility class swell is likely for Hawaii with maybe a little less for California.
Otherwise no other swell sources expected over the next 72 hours.
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.
New Zealand Gale
On Friday night (9/9) a storm had set up under New Zealand with pressure 956 mbs and generating confirmed winds of 50-55 kts over a small area at 54S 171E aimed east-northeast or 15 degrees east of the 216 degree path to California and 35 degrees east of the 210 degree path to Hawaii and mostly shadowed by New Zealand. Seas were building from 32 ft at 57S 168E. These winds decayed to the 40-45 kts range Saturday AM centered near 51S 174W aimed 30 degree east of the 211 degree path to CA and almost shadowed by Tahiti and 60 degrees east of the 192 degree path to Hawaii. Seas built to 39 ft @ 54S 173E. In the evening 40-45 kts winds continued over a moderate area at 54S 171W shadowed from California by Tahiti through aimed well up the 207 degree path to CA and 55 degrees east of the 188 degree path to Hawaii with seas fading to 35 ft in response to the lessening winds at 55S 175W. 35 ft winds and 35 ft seas forecast holding through Sunday morning at 53S 168W, then fading out by evening.
This was not an outstanding fetch, but neither insignificant either, especially considering the time of year. Just the same it was a very long ways from California though aimed reasonably well at the state before becoming shadowed by Tahiti. Though closer to Hawaii, most fetch was aimed well east of any great circle path to the state. Best bets are for small swell arriving in California late Sunday (9/17) with period 17 secs peaking on Monday with swell maybe 2 ft @ 15-16 secs. Hawaii to see swell starting Friday afternoon with period near 20 secs peaking late Saturday with swell to 3 ft @ 17 secs late (4.5-5.0 ft faces) holding into Sunday with swell 3.3 ft @ 16 secs (5.0-5.5 ft faces).
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 the low north of Hawaii is to continue pushing up into Alaska and dissipating while high pressure holds off the coast of California into Friday (9/15). Beyond weak to moderate high pressure at 1024 mbs is to be aligned west to east and not really doing anything from a swell production standpoint. The models suggest a small low developing over the dateline Sunday (9/17) and trying to organize while pushing east, but certainly nothing of any real interest expected yet. Looking like a transitional pattern setting up.
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest maybe yet another weak system pushing under New Zealand early next weekend, but that's far from certain. If it does, Hawaii to have the best shot of anything rideable from it.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table