On Tuesday (9/12) Northern CA surf was chest to head high and reasonably clean coming from the north. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were chest to shoulder high. Central California surf was waist to chest high. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were about thigh high. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist high with some chest high sets. Southward from Orange County into San Diego best breaks were waist to chest high and maybe a little more. The North Shore of Oahu was waist to chest high. The South Shore was near flat. The East Shore was flat.
A taste of early season Fall for North California with tiny swell trying to push in from the Gulf of Alaska, while southern hemi dribbles continue on the south end of the state. Hawaii was also seeing small northwest preview swell at select spots on the North Shore. The southern hemisphere is still active with 2 storms having pushed under New Zealand recently pushing some limited energy north but most energy directed well to the east. Of more interest is the projected increase in activity for the North Pacific. Nothing earthshaking modeled, but there are definite signs that it's coming out of it's summertime slumber. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Tuesdays jetstream charts (9/12) indicated a steep ridge over the Bering Sea feeding into a weak and steep trough just northwest of Hawaii, supportive of some limited surface level low pressure development. By the weekend the ridge over the Bering seas is to track east and fade out with a generally more supportive pattern setting up over the entire north Pacific. On Sunday 2 troughs are modeled each with 130 kts winds running under then, one in the gulf and the second over the dateline. They are to track east with the Gulf one fading out mid-next week and a broader trough setting up over the dateline. This looks reasonably promising.
At the surface today a new low was building northwest of Hawaii supported by an upper trough higher in the atmosphere. Surface pressure was 988 mbs late with 30 kts winds confirmed but all aimed either north towards Alaska or south but west of Hawaii. High pressure was building off the Pacific Northwest from 1028 mbs generating near 30 kt north winds off Cape Mendocino CA and starting to produce increased short period windswell into North CA. trades had faded over the Hawaiian Islands with the low so close by.
Swell from the weak remnants of extratropical storm Ioke in the northern Gulf of Alaska on Saturday/Sunday (9/10) were producing small 4 ft @ 13 sec period swell pushing into North CA Tuesday (9/12) good for some 4-5 ft faces, expected to hold into Wednesday.
Over the next 72 hours through Friday (9/15) the Hawaiian low to hold it's pressure but lift north with winds 40 kts and seas 25 ft pushing towards Alaska and 20 ft seas tracking south mostly missing the Islands. Maybe some small 4 ft @ 11 sideband swell to reach the Islands Friday (9/15) into Saturday providing 4-5 ft faces from 325 degrees. This low to be north of the Aleutians and out of the picture by Friday. Also high pressure off the Pacific Northwest to continue generating the usual pressure gradient off Cape Mendocino Wednesday into Thursday with 30-35 kts north winds, then fading Friday and moving south over and into North CA making for a sloppy mess then. Short period windswell in California Wed/Thurs. In Hawaii generally light to subnormal trades with low pressure in such close proximity to the Islands.
Typhoon Shanshan was positioned 700 nmiles south of the southern tip of Japan with winds 90 kts drifting northwest. Latest models suggest a track more northerly with winds up to 100-105 kts for the next 4-5 days. It is expected to turn northeast swinging just over or off Japan and possibly making the extratropical route off the Kurils turning east. Way too early to know with any certainty, but worth watching just the same.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
High pressure at 1030 mbs expected Wednesday (9/13) off British Columbia generating increasing winds off Cape Mendocino to near 35 kts late then starting to push near San Francisco Thursday with conditions decaying late in the Bay Area. The much weakened remnants of this gradient to push down the coast into Central CA through late Friday as low pressure moves into the Gulf of Alaska forcing the high south, with 20 kt north winds and poor conditions forecast over nearshore coastal waters, possibly holding to some degree into Saturday. A little better Sunday but brisk north winds still hanging off the coast likely junking things up. No significant change forecast through Monday until a second low moves out of the Gulf allowing high pressure and the gradient to start drifting back north Tuesday. Then gradient north winds to start rebuilding off Cape Mendocino with the commensurate increase in north windswell forecast.
On Tuesday (9/12) 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. The southern branch had a decent sized trough pushing north under New Zealand but only 110 kt winds pushing reasonably well to the north supportive of something at the surface. Over the next 72 hours through Friday (9/15) that trough to hold on till Wednesday while drifting east, but then the jet is to start sweeping over the Ross Ice Shelf from the west shutting things down. Beyond 72 hours a new trough is to open up under New Zealand Friday into Sunday with 120 kt winds pushing north and providing some hope, but that to be short-lived with a new ridging sweeping east over the Ross Ice Shelf right behind it shutting things down just as fast.
At the surface the remnants of a storm under New Zealand were fading (see Another New Zealand Gale below). Over the next 72 hours another gale is to push under New Zealand Thursday into Friday (9/15) with 40-45 kts west winds generating up to 40 ft seas but all pushing nearly due east, limiting the ability for any swell it generates to push north towards Hawaii or California. This is consistent with the general pattern as of late and the same results should be expected - small utility swell a week or so out, biggest in Hawaii.
Otherwise no other swell sources expected over the next 72 hours.
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) building through Monday peaking Tuesday (9/19) with swell maybe 2.3-2.6 ft @ 16 secs (3.0-3.5 ft faces). 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 ft faces).
Another New Zealand Gale
A gale developed in an upper level trough under New Zealand on Sunday AM (9/10) with fetch aimed reasonably well to the northeast with winds confirmed at 40-50 kts near 56S 168E building to 45-55 kts by evening at 52S 180W well up the 213 path to CA and 35 degrees east of the 194 degree path to HI. The Jason-1 satellite confirmed seas at 32-35 ft late evening (06Z), consistent with the wave model. This storm dropped to 956 mbs Monday AM with 50-60 kt west-southwest winds confirmed at 52S 167W 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 35 ft @ 51S 175W. The storm started collapsing Monday evening with a small area of 45-50 kt winds left at 50S 157W aimed almost to the southeast or 90 degrees east of the 180 degree path to Hawaii and 40 degree east of the 203 degree path to California, emerging from the Tahitian swell shadow. Seas 40 ft at 50S 165W. By Tuesday AM (9/12) all fetch was aimed southeast towards Antarctica with 39 ft seas mainly from previous days fetch centered at 50S 155W and fading.
This storm tracked reasonably well to expectations, but again most energy was aimed east away from Hawaii through better towards California, but a long ways away. Limited utility class swell is likely for Hawaii starting Monday (9/18) intermixing with swell already in the water from the previous storm. Less energy for California mid-week.
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 models suggest 2 new lows forming by Saturday (9/16), one over the dateline and a second in the Gulf of Alaska producing near 40 kts winds for 24 hours on Sunday producing 20 ft seas in the Gulf and 25 ft seas on the dateline targeting North/Central CA and Hawaii respectively. Good potential for more small 13-14 secs period swell early to mid-next week.
A stronger low is modeled swinging further south from the dateline positioned north of Hawaii late next Tuesday (9/19) with 40 kts winds aimed at the Islands to CA. More small to moderate swell generation potential.
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing storms or gales forecast.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table