On Wednesday (9/19) Northern CA surf was head high to 3 ft overhead and blown to bits. South facing breaks in Santa Cruz were waist to maybe chest high. Central California surf (Morro Bay) was waist high with some larger sets but wind coming up. Surf in Southern CA from Santa Barbara to just north of LA was maybe up to waist high at the best breaks. The LA Area southward to Orange County was waist to chest high. South Orange County down into San Diego best breaks were also waist to chest high. The North Shore of Oahu was flat. The South Shore was waist high. The East Shore was chest high.
North/Central California was in the middle of a windswell event courtesy of local low pressure building over the area. Small southern hemi swell was buried underneath. Southern California was in the middle of the second of 4 southern hemi swells, with 2 more expected over the next 6 days. Hawaii was in the middle of the 3rd of 4 southern hemi swells, but the 4ths one will not hardly count. Building easterly windswell was focused on the East Shore. The North Shore was flat with no activity. The main focus remains southern hemi swell coming from a series of gales that passed under New Zealand last week. Hawaii was one the downside of that series of swells, but California was in the middle of the swell cycle, with the biggest and best of the series coming by late in the weekend into early next week, expected to reach into the minimal significant class range. And up in the North Pacific a gale over the dateline earlier this week has produced small swell pushing south towards both Hawaii and California, providing hope for late this week into the early weekend. Windswell continues on the charts for a few days too. So there's motion in the ocean.Now we just need it to be about 3 times larger so we can say we're in the core of the Fall Season. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Wednesdays jetstream charts (9/19) for the North Pacific indicated a fading trough in place over the dateline pushing north into the Bering Sea forced by a strong ridge over the Gulf of Alaska. No support for surface level low pressure there. The jet proceeded into Canada then dove south and was starting to bulge back to the west off the California coast, setting up potential for weak surface low pressure development there. Back to the west a pocket of wind energy was trying to organize over Siberia, poised for entry into the North Pacific in the days ahead. Over the next 72 hours the trough developing over California is to hold sinking slowly south through the weekend. Should make for some unsettled weather there. Otherwise a moderate flow of energy to track generally flat from the Kurils just south of the Aleutians east pushing into Central Canada. No clear support for surface level low pressure development. Beyond 72 hours a flat jetstream flow to persist then starting to ridge north moving over the Aleutians mid-next week and reducing odds of 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 strong high pressure at 1032 mbs was in firm control of the Gulf of Alaska generating brisk 20-25 kt north winds pushing down the coasts of the PAcific Northwest into California and generating raw local windswell. Winds rotating under the southern side of this high were also generating brisk trades pushing off the California coast and pushing over the Hawaiian Islands making for moderate short period local windswell there too. Low pressure was confined tot he Bering Sea with no clear signs of any swell generation potential in-play. Over the next 72 hours through Saturday (9/22) the high to start loosing punch while a weak low pressure system tries to migrate into the Gulf of Alaska. It to start building Saturday AM 99/22) with pressure at 996 mbs and winds up to 45 kts in it's west quadrant at 50N 160W aimed briefly towards Hawaii down the 360 degree path and swinging towards the mainland. By evening 40-45 kt winds to be in the lows south quadrant at 52N 152W aimed towards California up the 308 degree great circle path with seas building to 25 ft over a infinitesimal area. A last little fetch of 35-40 kts winds to hold into Sunday AM (9/23) at 52N 145W aimed due east or towards CA up the 312 degree path with seas 25 ft at the same locale. This gale to be pushing to the Canadian coast by evening with winds down to 30-35 kts and seas to 23 ft at 52N 140W aimed 30 degrees east of the 319 degree great circle path to North CA, moving out of the swell window. If this come to pass perhaps some form of small northwest swell to result mainly for North/Central CA on up into the Pacific Northwest but little pushing south towards Hawaii.
No other swell producing systems are forecast.
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.
On 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 modeled at 22 ft at 47N 175E all pushing towards California. By evening winds were continuing in the same areas as before, though strongest one were in the south quadrant at 50N 180W at 40 kts focused more to the east aimed best towards California up the 306 degree great circle path with sideband energy aimed 30 degrees east of the 330 degree path to Hawaii. Seas were modeled at 30 ft over a small area at 48N 178E.
The core of the low was 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 175W in the AM pushing almost exclusively east with 22 ft seas pushing southeast towards Hawaii. This system to be gone by nightfall.
By no means was this a strong or long lasting system. in fact it was tiny and short lived only providing a 6 hour window of 30 ft seas aimed primarily east. The bulk of the fetch was aimed east of Hawaii, but by virtue of it being closer to the fetch, some decent size is expected. Most fetch was aimed almost directly towards California, but was 2400-2500 nmiles away, allowing for lots of decay on the long journey east. The net result is to be some form of fun sized early season swell for Hawaii starting Friday (9/21) and California early Saturday (9/22). This will be the first official swell of the 2007/2008 Fall season.
Hawaii: There is a bit of uncertainty in this forecast given that most energy was aimed east of the Islands. But rough data suggest swell arrival starting Thursday (9/20) at sunset with period 17 secs and size not even noticeable but building overnight. Swell to start peaking Friday (9/21) at sunrise with swell 4.3 ft @ 14 secs (6 ft faces - 7.5 ft top breaks), with size and period starting to fade late afternoon as period drops to 13 secs. Swell Direction: 320-330 degrees
North CA. Expect the first tiny dribbles from this swell arriving near 7 PM Friday (9/21) with period 17 secs and size negligible. Most size to be concentrated in the 15 sec range which is expected to arrive near sunrise Saturday (9/22) with swell 4-5 ft @ 15 secs (6-7 ft faces with luck). Swell fading by sunset Saturday as period drops to 14 secs with only 12-13 sec residuals left Sunday. Swell Direction: 302-306 degrees
Tropical Storm Wipha was located inland over China and fading. No swell generation potential forecast.
Tropical Storm Ivo formed Wednesday AM (9/19) 480 nmiles south of Cabo San lucas with sustained winds up to 55 kts. It was located just barely in the Southern CA swell window but was 1100 nmiles away. This distance and the lack of strong winds was limiting it's potential for generating swell pushing north. Ivo is forecast to reach minimal hurricane force this evening with winds to 75 kts tracking northwest, a bit better into the SCal swell window, and holding this relative track and strength into Friday AM (9/21) moving to within 800 nmiles of Dana Point on the 168 degree path. Some odds for small 13 sec swell to result starting Saturday, but likely masked by southern hemi swell already in the water. Ivo to be turning back to the northeast and moving inland near Cabo Monday (9/24) and out of the California swell window.
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
California Offshore Forecast
On Wednesday (9/19) strong high pressure at 1034 mbs was building 1500 nmiles west of Cape Mendocino while weak low pressure was set up inland resulting in a building pressure gradient and northerly winds at 20-25 kts pushing down from the Pacific Northwest into the California coast. Moderate sized short period windswell was in the water as a result of these winds. Southern California remained protected. On Thursday this fetch to become centralized off Cape Mendocino with north winds there to 30 kts setting up more windswell, but the fetch itself to be pulling away from the coast. Weak low pressure to push off the coast hanging just off San Francisco and sinking south. Chance for rain and even snow at higher elevations about 6500 ft. Improving local wind conditions expected over the state. Friday the bulk of the fetch to fade locally with the low moving just off Southern CA, with south winds blowing into the coast there. The high pressure system driving the bulk of the windswell off the coast is to start fading Saturday with the fetch and associated local windswell fading out with it. Things to remain essentially calm from then on well into next week.
Wednesdays jetstream charts (9/19) for the South Pacific indicated a very weak fragmented flow in control with no energy or troughs of interest indicated. No support for low pressure development indicated. Over the next 72 hours no significant change is forecast, with only a weak, small and short lived trough trying to get a foothold in the Central South Pacific, fading fast. Beyond 72 hours the southern branch of the jet to remain positioned south or on the 60S latitude line and without any real energy of interest, essentially putting any weather systems over the Ross Ice Shelf and minimizing any swell generation potential.
At the oceans surface today no winds of interest or significant weather systems capable of generating swell were in-play. Over the next 72 hours no change is forecast with a relatively calm sea state setting up. 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: 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: 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: 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 (5-6 ft faces, best breaks 7-8 ft). Swell down a little Tuesday (9/25) early and fading with swell 3.3-3.6 ft @ 15 secs (5-6 ft - best breaks to 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 morning 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 a broad low pressure system is forecast pushing east of the Kuril Islands Saturday (9/22) generating a moderate fetch of 30-35 kt west winds near 50N 170E. but the core of this low to be pushing hard towards the Bering Sea driven by a blocking high pressure system in the East Pacific. Some form of 30-35 kt westerly winds to persist into Sunday AM (9/23) with seas to 20 ft modeled in that area. Maybe some form of weak 13 sec period swell to be radiating towards the Hawaiian Islands, but odds low. Beyond high pressure to continue it's stranglehold on the Northeastern Pacific building almost to the dateline and driving another poorly organized low that's to emerge off Siberia on Tuesday 99/250 to the northeast towards the Bering Sea. It's to get no substantial footprint on the oceans surface, with no swell generation potential expected.
Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) - On Wednesday (9/19) the active phase of the MJO was trying to make some headway into the North Pacific, starting to push east over the Philippines. The active phase is linked to increased gale/storm development in the vicinity north of where it is present during Fall/Winter months. The MJO travels along the equator from west to east. At this time it has had been no impact on the Southern Oscillation Index with positive values being reported (6.3 today and a 30 day average of 6.5). No wind anomalies are reported either with trades well in-control. The models suggest the MJO to make only limited eastward progresses limping to the dateline by Oct 8th then dissipating. Therefore only limited support for enhancing storm development patterns expected in the Gulf of Alaska and dateline regions.
Beyond 72 hours the models suggest a storm developing in the far Southeast Pacific on Tuesday (9/25) with winds to 50 kts but positioned well to the south, barely clear of the Ice Shelf there. By evening winds to 55-60 kts are forecast at 60S 125W aimed almost due east, targeting mainly Chile with some degree of sideband energy possibly resulting pushing north towards Southern CA. But this system is to push rapidly east and out of even the Southern CA swell window 12 hours later. No swell generation potential indicated, and that assumes this one even forms as modeled. No other systems of interest are suggested.
Details to follow...
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Jason-1 Satellite Data On-line and Improved!: Our Jason-1 satellite data was upgraded yet again Wednesday PM (6/6) and is now operating better than ever. We've added a feature that averages the data every 15 measurements on the local views and every 50 measurements on the global view (1 measurement every 3 nautical miles) and overlays the results onto the wave model chart. Both the single highest measurement on the chart and the highest 15 measurement average are posted at the bottom of each chart. This seems to work real well and compensates for the very spiky nature of the raw data coming off the satellite. So we now have an effective way to verify the accuracy (or lack of) the wave model output. See the data here: http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_alt.html
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table