On Monday (9/17) Northern CA surf was shoulder high and blown out. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were up to chest high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high with some bigger sets. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was waist to chest high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was chest high with some bigger sets. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were also chest high with bigger sets though smaller further south. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was chest high with head high sets. The East Shore was chest high.
North/Central California was getting the tail end of the first of a strong of small to moderate southern hemi swells with the next poised just offshore. Southern California was at the end of the first of 4 southern hemi swells with the second just starting to show at the buoys. Hawaii was getting more decent southern hemi swell on the South Shore mixed with building eastern windswell focused primarily on the East Shore. The North Shore was flat with no activity for now. The main focal point remains southern hemi swell coming from a series of 3 systems that passed under New Zealand over the past week. The 3rd swell of that series is expected in Hawaii on Tuesday, then things to be settling down. At the same time California to just be getting into the meat of the southern hemi swell cycle, with swell 2 and 3 scheduled during this week and the biggest and best of the series coming by late in the weekend. This one to actually reach the minimal significant class threshold too. Finally something that is almost real. And up north a gale is building over the dateline, providing hope for both Hawaii and California late this week. Windswell is in the mix too. So there's plenty of potential if you can catch it at the right break and the right time. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Mondays jetstream charts (9/17) for the North Pacific indicated a moderate trough in place pushing off the Kuril Islands and pushing to the dateline with winds up to 160 kts pushing well to the east, the tracking almost due north at the dateline and heading up to the Aleutians in the Western Gulf of Alaska. Good support for low pressure development at the oceans surface in the trough. A weak ridge was in the Gulf but a second trough was trying to push down the coast of the Pacific Northwest moving inland over San Francisco. No support for low pressure development here though. Over the next 72 hours the dateline trough to fade out by Wednesday while a big ridge builds over the Gulf of Alaska supporting high pressure at the surface. A backdoor trough might build just off the Central CA coast, but not enough to do anything more than make for some unsettled weather there. A flat flow to building in extending from the Kurils east to the Central Canada. Beyond 72 hours a flat jetstream flow to persist actually pushing a little north moving directly over the Aleutians early next week and shutting down any hope for surface level low pressure development.
Jetstream Models: We've upgraded our jetstream forecast models to includes topographic land with the jet flowing over it. Wind speeds less than 50 kts are masked out. See it here:( NPac, SPac )
At the surface today high pressure at 1028 mbs was in firm control of the waters between Hawaii and California up into the Gulf of Alaska driving a good fetch of 20 kts easterly winds into and over the Hawaiian Islands making for building short period local windswell there. This high was also starting to generate northerly winds pushing down the length of the North and Central California coasts at 15 kts and expected to be on the increase. Of most interest was a gale building just south of the Aleutians and west of the dateline with winds 45 kts. Over the next 72 hours through Thursday (9/20) all focus is to be on the Dateline Gale (details below). Otherwise high pressure to build to 1032 mbs in the northeastern Pacific starting to set up a pressure gradient and north winds over a broad area along the California coast Tuesday at 25-30 kts continuing into Thursday producing windswell for the entire coast. A steady flow of 20 kt trades are to continue over the Hawaiian Islands too resulting in short period local windswell.
A new broad low pressure system started building off the Kuril Islands (Siberia) Sunday (9/16) pushing to the dateline late with pressure 976 mbs and winds building from 30-35 kts in it's southwest quadrant aimed towards Hawaii and California.
By Monday AM (9/17) pressure was down to 956 mbs with winds up to 40 kts in the west quadrant at 50N 170E aimed right down the 328 degree path to the Islands and actually trying to make an impression on the oceans surface. 40-45 kt winds were confirmed in the gales south quadrant aimed due east right up the 305 degree path to California. Seas modeld at 22 ft at 47N 175E all pushing towards California. By evening winds to be all centered in the south quadrant at 47N 180W at 40-45 kts focused more to the east aimed best towards California up the 305 degree great circle path with sideband energy aimed 30 degrees east of the 330 degree path to Hawaii. Seas forecast to 30 ft in this area at 48N 178E.
The core of the low to be lifting north into the Bering Sea Tuesday AM (9/18) with residual 30-35 kts wind lingering south of the Aleutians and fading fast, gone by nightfall. 27 ft seas are modeled at 50N 174W in the AM pushing almost exclusively east. This system to be gone by nightfall.
At this time odds are improving for some form of small but rideable North Pacific swell for both Hawaii Friday (9/21) and California by the weekend if all this comes to pass. This would be the first official swell of the 2007/2008 Fall season. Will monitor.
Typhoon Wipha was located 150 nmiles east of Taiwan with sustained winds 120 kts tracking west-northwest. Wipha is expected to turn to the north a just brush the coast of China early Wednesday (9/19) with winds fading from 120 kts, then track over Korea Thursday and into the Sea of Japan while fading. no swell generation potential for our forecast area suggested.
No other systems were being monitored.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Monday (9/17) weak high pressure at 1028 mbs was building 1400 nmiles west of Pt Conception setting up a building fetch of northerly winds at 15-20 kts pushing down the California coast. Only Southern California was protected. This fetch to become more centralized off Cape Mendocino on Tuesday with 25 kts north winds building there and lesser winds pushing down the coast. Windswell on the increase though local conditions north of Pt Conception to not be good. This same pattern to hold if not amplify through Wednesday. Finally Thursday the fetch is to start pulling away from the coast as a local low pressure system builds directly off San Francisco switching local winds offshore north of the low. The low to drift south on Friday (9/21) to Point Conception, but all fetch associated with it is to be gone, with windswell fading with it. Light winds and no windswell forecast through the weekend into early next week.
Mondays jetstream charts (9/17) for the South Pacific indicated a weak split flow in control and only a weak trough in the Southeast Pacific. Winds to 100 kts pushing up into that trough and not providing any real support for surface level low pressure development. No other support for low pressure development indicated. Over the next 72 hours no real change forecast with the trough moving even further east centered near 110W, outside even the California swell window. Winds building in that trough to 140 kts Thursday, helping to fuel development there but only good for extreme Southern Chile. Beyond 72 hours the southern branch of the jet to remain positioned south of 60S and essentially locking any weather systems over ice, eliminating any swell generation potential even if something were to develop.
At the oceans surface today a gale low was in the far Southeast South Pacific (see 'Final Storm' below). Otherwise a calm pattern was in control. Over the next 72 hours another storm is forecast developing in the far Southeast Pacific with winds to 55 kts, but east and outside even the Southern CA swell window. No swell generation potential relative to our forecast area indicated.
Second Small New Zealand Gale
A small gale originated under New Zealand late Friday (9/7) in association with a 972 mbs low there, generating 40 kts fetch aimed northeast at 60S 160E aimed towards Hawaii and California reasonably well. It pushed east Saturday AM increasing in size some with winds still 40-45 kts at 57S 180W. Seas were up to 29 ft at 57S 170E. Winds built to 45-50 kts late Saturday at 56S 170W aimed due east or 35 degrees east of the 204 degree path to California and almost unshadowed by Tahiti and 70 degrees east of the 187 degree path to Hawaii. 35 ft seas were modeled at 57S 175W. The Jason-1 satellite made two passes directly over this fetch late Saturday reporting seas 35-37 ft solid peak singular readings to 40-41 ft. So this one is exactly as the WW3 model predicts. The fetch totally collapsed Sunday AM (9/9) though residual seas from previous day fetch peaked at 36 ft at 57S 162W. Small utility class swell likely for both Hawaii and California 7 and 9 days out respectively.
South CA: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (9/17) before sunrise with period 20 secs and size not even noticeable. Size building through the day. Swell to start becoming rideable Tuesday AM (9/18) with period dropping to 17 secs about noon. Swell 2.3 ft @ 17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - best breaks to near 5 ft) then. Swell holding in the 2.3 ft @ 15 sec range (3.5 ft faces) Wednesday (9/19). Swell dropping from 2.2 ft @ 14 secs (3 ft faces) at noon Thurs (9/20). Swell Direction: 203-211 degrees
North CA: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (9/17) just before sunrise with period 20 secs and size not even noticeable. Size building through the day. Swell to start becoming rideable Tuesday mid-morning (9/18) with period dropping to 17 secs about 3 PM. Swell 2.3 ft @ 17 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces - best breaks to near 5 ft) then. Swell holding in the 2.3 ft @ 15-16 sec range (3.5-4.0 ft faces) Wednesday (9/19). Swell dropping from 2.2 ft @ 14-15 secs (3 ft faces) Thurs (9/20) with period down to 14 secs by 6 PM. Swell Direction: 203-211 degrees
Another New Zealand Gale
On Tuesday AM (9/11) a small 968 mb gale was starting to develop south of New Zealand with winds confirmed at 40-45 kts at 60S 172E with fetch aimed northeast or right up the 211 degree great circle path to California and 20 degrees east of the 193 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were building. In the evening winds were confirmed at 40-45 kts at 55S 175E aimed northeast, or right up the 208 degree path to California but shadowed by Tahiti and 30 degrees east of the 189 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled building to 32 ft at 56S 177W. the Jason-1 satellite passed over the outer edge of the fetch and indicated seas 26 ft, 2 feet less than what was modeled.
On Wednesday AM (9/12) winds held at 40-45 kts and expanded slightly in coverage at 50S 162W aimed just east of due north. These winds were aimed right up the 204 degree path to California (but still shadowed by Tahiti) and 25 degrees east of the 182 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 32 ft at 51S 165W. In the evening winds held at 40-45 kts at 50S 150W aimed more to the northeast now or 10 degrees east of the 200 degree path to California and unshadowed by Tahiti and 35 degrees east of the 175 degree path to Hawaii. Sea were fading at 30 ft @ 48S 157W. The Jason-1 satellite passed right over the fetch and indicated seas at 29 ft or within 1 ft of the Wavewatch3 model. Not too bad. But a second pass 6 hrs later put seas 2 ft less than what the models suggested.
On Thursday AM (9/13) the last little bit of wind energy was confirmed at 40 kts aimed more north again at 48S 145W. They were aimed 10 degrees east of the 195 degree great circle path to California but well outside the Hawaiian swell window. Seas were fading from 30 ft at 47S 149W. By evening this system was gone with seas falling below 28 ft.
This gale was not a particularly strong one, but held together a little longer than ones before it and of far more interest, it was actually tracking more northeast (versus east) pushing more swell energy towards our forecast area. Seas were pretty moderate though in the 32 ft range and even that might be a 1 or so more than actually based on data from the Jason-1 satellite. Given it's relative close proximity to the Hawaiian Islands and more northerly course, solid utility class plus swell could radiate towards the Islands. California still has the issue with the Tahitian swell shadow chopping a good 25% of the swell size while in the shadow, and the long travel distance and moderate sea heights. But the gale moved east of the shadow providing a little hope late in it's life. Suspect more of the same as previous swell though, with utility class swell 9 days out for CA.
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival starting arriving late Tuesday (9/18) at 2 ft @ 17-18 secs (3.5 ft faces). Swell picking up on Wednesday (9/19) just before sunrise as period drops to 17 secs peaking mid-morning at 2.6 ft @ 16 secs (4 ft faces - best breaks to 5 ft) holding through the day. Swell fading from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs through the day Thursday (9/20) (3.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 180-187 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival Friday (9/21) at about 1 AM with period 18 secs and size tiny but on the increase. Size becoming decently rideable by sunrise building into the afternoon when period hits 16 secs. Swell 2.6-2.8 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - best break to 5.5 ft) Swell fading Saturday (9/22) from 2.6-2.8 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces - best breaks to near 5 ft). Swell dropping from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs even before first light Sunday (9/23) (3.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 201-209 degrees
North California: Expect swell arrival Friday (9/21) at about 4 AM with period 18 secs and size tiny but on the increase. Size becoming decently rideable by mid-day build into the late afternoon when period hits 16 secs. Swell 2.6-2.8 ft @ 16 secs (4.0-4.5 ft faces - best break to 5.5 ft). Swell fading Saturday (9/22) from 2.6-2.8 ft @ 15 secs (4 ft faces - best breaks to near 5 ft). Swell dropping from 2.6 ft @ 14 secs first light Sunday (9/23) (3.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 198-207 degrees
Final Storm - Southeast Pacific - Storm 5S
A new gale started building under New Zealand Friday morning (9/14) with pressure 960 ms and winds to near 40 kts. By evening it had a moderate area of 50-55 kt winds aimed to the east-northeast at 55S 165W aimed 25 degrees east of the 201 degree path to California (unshadowed from Tahiti) and 45 degrees east of the 184 degree path to Hawaii. Seas building to 30 ft at 56S 165W.
Saturday AM (9/15) winds were 45-50 kts solid over a broad area centered at 53S 155W aimed like before or 25 degrees east of the 197 degree path to California and outside the Hawaiian swell window. 36 ft seas were modeled at 56S 160W. In the evening 45 kts winds held at 49S 140W aimed well northeast or 30 degrees east of the 192 degree path to California with more fetch moving in from the west at 40 kts. Seas were modeled to 37 ft at 52S 143W. The Jason-1 satellite passed over the back half of this fetch and reported seas at 36 ft with a peak single reading to 40 ft, right on track with the wave model.
The two fetch areas merged Sunday AM (9/16) with 50 kt fetch set up at 55S 143W but aimed southeast or 80 degrees east of the 189 degree path to California and very small in size. Seas fading to 36 ft at 50S 134W while the reinvigorated fetch gets traction on the oceans surface. In the evening a tiny area of 55-60 kt fetch was confirmed at 55S 125W aimed 80 degrees east of the 180 degree path to CA. 36 ft seas were modeled at 53S 131W.
On Monday AM (9/17) the last bit of fetch was barely in the CA swell window relative to Southern CA. Winds were 55kts at 58S 116W aimed 90 degrees east of the 178 degree path to SCal. Seas were modeled at 39 ft at 55S 120W all tracking doe east towards southern Chile. Only limited sideband potential pushing north though good energy heading towards Chile.
This was a fairly strong storm, strongest of any so far in this storm cycle. But it's was positioned mostly in the Southeast Pacific with all it's fetch aimed pretty well to the east, limiting any exposure to the Hawaiian Islands. California was situated better with the first part of the storm actually pushing fetch and seas reasonably well up the great circle paths there. And with seas in the 37 ft range and closer than in previous systems, this was an added bonus. Plus no interference from Tahiti was occurring either, so there is better potential here and better odds for consistency when the swell arrives. Significant class swell to result with some luck for California. And even more energy to be focused on Central America down into Peru and Chile.
Hawaii: Expect only limited swell starting late Friday (9/21) with swell 1 ft @ 19 secs (maybe 2 ft faces with luck). Swell to start peaking out Saturday (9/22) with swell 2.3 ft @ 16 secs mid-day (3.5 ft faces). Swell heading down on Sunday (9/23) from 2 ft @ 14-15 secs (2.5-3.0 ft faces) early and fading steadily through the afternoon. Swell Direction: 178-184 degrees
South California: Expect swell arrival starting at sunset Saturday (9/22) at 9 PM with swell maybe 1 ft @ 20 secs and size coming up. Swell to continue up through the day Sunday (9/23) with swell to 3 ft @ 18 secs late (5.5 ft faces - best breaks pushing 7 ft). Swell to peak out Monday (9/24) at sunrise as period moves to 17 secs. Swell 3.6 ft @ 17 secs with rare sets to 4 ft @ 17 secs (6-7 ft faces, best breaks 8-9 ft). Swell down a little Tuesday (9/25) early and fading with swell 3.3-3.8 ft @ 15 secs (5-6 ft-best breaks 6.5-7.5 ft). Period dropping from 14 secs before sunrise Wednesday morning with size on the way down. Swell Direction: 192-202 degrees
North California: Expect swell arrival starting early Sunday (9/23) at 2 AM with swell maybe 1 ft @ 20 secs and size coming up. Swell to continue up through the day with swell to 2.6 ft @ 18 secs at sunset (4.5-5.0 ft faces - best breaks pushing 6 ft). Swell to peak out Monday (9/24) at late morning as period moves to 17 secs. Swell 3.3-3.6 ft @ 17 secs (5.5-6.0 ft faces, best breaks 7-8 ft). Swell down a little Tuesday (9/25) and fading with swell 3.3-3.6 ft @ 15 secs (5.0-5.5 ft-best breaks 6.5-7.0 ft). Period dropping from 14 secs sunrise Wednesday momrning with size on the way down. Swell Direction: 190-200 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 high pressure in the Northeastern Pacific to start fading and pulling away from the California coast Friday (9/21) with windswell fading out and calmer local winds settling in. Fetch over the Hawaiian Islands to be fading too with windswell on the decrease. The models suggest a series of weak low pressure system to try and flow from Japan towards the Gulf of Alaska into early next week, but none are to develop and no swell producing fetch is to result. That said, one little low might produce a limited fetch of 30-35 kt northwest winds late Saturday into Sunday in the Gulf of Alaska aimed at California, but odds low of any swell resulting.
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest two more weak and short lived gales forming in the Southeast Pacific, but none generating seas of interest. No swell generation potential indicated.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table