On Thursday (9/29) Northern CA surf was chest high with light winds. South facing breaks were flat. Central California surf was maybe waist high at the best breaks. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were flat. The LA area southward into Orange County was up to maybe waist high at the best spots. Southward to San Diego waves were flat with best breaks to maybe waist high. The North Shore of Oahu was waist high. The South Shore was up to waist high. The East Shore was waist to chest high.
Waves almost non-existent for most locations today, but some energy is on the way. For North and Central California the best hope is from a gale that maxed out on Wednesday but was still circulating in the Gulf of Alaska today and expected to continue for another 24 hours. Decent surf for the weekend from this one expected. And a series of 2 more gales is forecast over the next 7 days, providing ample opportunity to continue a relatively decent swell pattern well into next weekend. But South California and Hawaii have their sights set further south, though the Gulf of Alaska could provide some minimal swell for them. A decent storm is developing east of New Zealand with some solid energy forecast pushing north. Tahiti to be the focus, which is expected to put Southern CA in the shadow of the Society Islands. Still, decent swell to push through if all goes as planned. See details below...
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Thursday (9/29) at the jetstream level a healthy flow was in place from the dateline into and over Vancouver Island with winds up to 160 kts over the dateline. A nice gap was present south of Alaska in the Northern Gulf to support some degree of surface level gale development (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the stronger energy over the dateline is to dip south while moving into the Gulf of Alaska with 160 kt winds feeding into it, peaking on Saturday (10/1). This looks totally capable of supporting something at the surface. That trough to push slowly into North California through late in the weekend. Sure looks like am early season Fall pattern if there ever was one.
At the surface on Thursday (9/29) high pressure at 1024 mbs continued north of Hawaii producing the usual trade winds easterly flow at 15-20 kts and the commensurate windswell. And equally weak north flow persisted off California with only minimal windswell resulting. The remnants of the earlier Gulf Gale (see below) continued in the Gulf of Alaska, but was not remarkable. The weak beginnings of a new low were trying to organize west of the dateline tracking northeast (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the new dateline low is to be the prime focus. By Saturday (10/1) things to start getting interesting as it reaches the dateline and starts strengthening. Pressure to drop to 992 mbs with winds building to near 50 kts over a tiny area in the low's west quadrant aimed south with some lesser winds at 40-45 kts wrapping into the lows south quadrant aimed at Hawaii and the US west coast. Seas building. The low is to slowly lift northeast on Sunday (10/2) with pressure 984 mbs. Winds continuing at 40-45 kts over a small to moderate area aimed well towards both Hawaii and California with seas 25 ft through the period. The low to fade on on Monday (10/3) in the Gulf of Alaska but not before a decent area of 27 ft seas is generated. In all this system looks capable of generating small to moderate utility class winter surf for Hawaii's northern shores and California with some larger surf into the Pacific Northwest if all occurs as modeled.
More model data here
On Tuesday morning (9/27) a low was developing in the Gulf of Alaska with pressure at 971 mbs and west winds confirmed in it's south quadrant at 40 to near 50 kts centered near 50N 162W aimed right down the 309 degree path to North California. Seas were modeled at 21 ft centered at 48N 164W. On Tuesday night (9/27) pressure at 972 mbs mbs as the low tracked east over the Aleutians with decent fetch continuing in it's south quadrant positioned over the open waters of the North Pacific. Winds confirmed at 30-35 kts aimed east centered at 50N 158W pushing down the 308 degree path to North CA with seas 29 ft at the same area. A steady weakening settled in by Wednesday AM (9/28) with winds confirmed down to 30 kts with seas 28 ft centered at 52N 150W generated from the previous days fetch. By the evening this system was rapidly decaying. On Thursday (9/29) persistent fetch of 25-30 kts was confirmed in the Gulf near 52N 151W aimed down the 309 degree path to California with 21 ft seas confirmed at 52N 145W on the north most edge of the North Ca swell window (315 degrees). Varying degrees of 25-30 kt winds and 15-17 ft seas expected to continue in the Gulf pushing southeast towards California and the Pacific Northwest through the weekend ensuring a long tail of moderate to short period windswell on the back end of this swells initial push. Given the rather extreme north angle, not too much expected to wrap into Southern CA.
Expect the initial push of this swell to arrive in North CA starting Friday 10 AM (9/30) with period 16 secs and size pushing up, maxing at sunset with swell maybe 5.5-6.5 ft @ 15 secs (8-9 ft faces). Swell holding well into Saturday (10/1) with swell 5.5-6.5 ft @ 13 secs early (7-8 ft faces) fading slowly through the day. Residual energy to continue into Sunday. Swell Direction 308-314 degrees
California Offshore Forecast
Thursday mornings local charts (9/29) indicated high pressure at 1026 mbs was north of Hawaii trying to ridge east into California, but was getting squeezed back to the west by low pressure falling south out of the Gulf of Alaska. Very limited 25 kt north winds to continue over Cape Mendocino early Friday and fading fast with 15 kt winds hanging just off the North CA coast. Even that to fade out on Saturday (10/1) with only remnants hanging over Pt Conception through the weekend. High pressure to make a comback early next week in combination with lower pressure inland, setting up a brisk north wind pattern along the Ca coast by Tuesday (10/4) and continuing in spurts through next workweek.
The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.
(updated Thursday AM 9/29)
Tropical Depression Kenneth is still there, but fading out about 230 nmiles east of Hawaii. It was very poorly organized and fading fast. Nothing to be left by Friday AM (9/30). The remnants of this system in conjunction with high pressure north of the state to produce easterly windswell pushing into all the Islands Friday and Saturday (10/1).
Tropical Storm Otis was south of Baja tracking northwest a turn to the north is expected over the weekend with this system reaching minimal hurricane status before fading and tracking over Central Baja on Monday (10/3). Some southerly short period swell possible for Southern California late Monday into Tuesday is this one follows it forecast track.
Thursday's (9/29) jetstream charts indicated a broad trough southeast of New Zealand with a rather weak flow of 120 kt winds flowing over it. Some decent potential for surface level low pressure development here (see Potential Storm #6S below). Otherwise the trough turned into a ridge over the East Pacific diving into Antarctica (animation here). Over the next 72 hours the trough is to hold in some form while tracking slowly east through the somewhat stronger winds flowing around it are to fade. Surface level storm development receding.
At the surface today Possible Storm #6S was in control of the Southwest Pacific (see details below) (animation here). Over the next 72 hours remnants from this system are to persist tracking slowly east, though all fetch is to take aim on Antarctica as it forms a gradient with a 1028 mb high off Chile. 25-30 kts winds are all that's to be left of Storm #6S's western quadrant aimed north.
More model data here
Possible Storm #6S
On Wednesday AM (9/28) a solid low developed southeast of New Zealand with pressure 958 mbs producing a broad fetch confirmed at 40-45 kt winds centered at 48S 174W aimed northeast. In the evening the system was building with winds confirmed at 40-50 kts over a broad area roughly centered at 54S 158W aimed north and northeast towards Hawaii, tahiti and California. Seas built to 30 ft centered near 48S 172W. No good Jason-1 satellite passes occurred to verify sea height info.
By Thursday AM (9/29) the system maxed out from a pressure perspective down to 936 mbs with some degree of 45-50 kt winds confirmed centered at 47S 168W aimed northeast with seas modeled at 32 ft centered at 47S 170W. These winds were aimed towards California up the problematic 205-208 degree path, and well up the 185-187 degree path to Hawaii. Still seas from previous days fetch forecast at 37 ft centered at 45S 165W.
A quick decay to settle in by Friday (9/30) as the storms core splits in two with the southern core holding stationary while the northern core rotates around it tracking towards Antarctica. This to direct any remaining wind energy towards Antarctica. Still some 40-45 kts winds to persist in the storms northwest quadrant aimed like before centered near 48S 150W but mostly out of the Hawaiian Swell window. Seas modeled at 37 ft centered at 43S 160W and fading. By the evening the systems is to rapidly decay with no additional fetch of seas being generated.
At this time some decent swell is expected to radiate north, with Hawaii and Tahiti getting the lions share of the swell. The issue with California is that Tahiti is to be sitting right in the middle of the swell window, having some degree of shadowing affect on the resulting swell, especially true for the Northern half of the state. This to be no issue for Hawaii though.
Current data suggests Tahiti to have good winds as the swell arrives late Saturday (10/1) peaking into early Sunday (10/2) with swell 11 ft @ 15-17 secs (15-17 ft Hawaiian). Local winds north 10 kts Friday then near calm on Saturday re-building from north to 10 kts on Sunday. Swell Direction: 200 degrees
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Thursdays (9/29) upper level models indicate that beyond 72 hours a new batch of energy is to push off the Kuril Islands early next week tracking east. Current models suggest that it is to remain generally flat with no pronounced troughs developing, though wind speeds are to still be respectable in the 140 kt range. This energy to push over the Pacific Northwest late next week. No obvious signs of surface level storm development.
Beyond 72 hours at the surface another 988 mb low is to track over the dateline and into the Bering Sea but with some 35-40 kt fetch hanging south of the Aleutians aimed east. This low to eventually pushing into the Gulf of Alaska late next week. 21 ft seas forecast through it's life aimed best at California and the PAcific Northwest with some sideband energy possible for Hawaii.
Thursdays (9/29) upper level models indicate that beyond 72 hours the trough in the southern branch of the jet is to fade out completely and a split pattern with the southern branch pushing over Antarctica to take over. No suggestion of any surface level storm development.
At the surface beyond 72 hours high pressure is to have a controlling interest on the South Pacific at 1020 mbs positioned east of New Zealand and ridging south while slowly tracking east.
Details to follow...
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table